Rethinking social value

Measuring outcomes and impact

CRESR has substantial expertise in the evaluation of projects and programmes, including assessments of the impact, and economic and social value of outcomes from interventions. We undertake evaluations of complex programmes: for instance, the evaluation of New Deal for Communities, the largest and most comprehensive evaluation of an area-based programme ever commissioned; and the evaluation of Futurebuilders - the first evaluation of a UK government programme to use Social Return on Investment methodology. We also work extensively with agencies in the public and voluntary and community sectors, using a range of methods to identify the impact and value of their work. We take a pragmatic approach to evaluation: not subscribing to a particular tool or approach, but working closely with clients to understand their needs, and using appropriate methodologies to produce robust assessments which can be used to inform service delivery and investment decisions. 

Our expertise includes:

  • development of bespoke evaluation frameworks including tools for self-evaluation
  • measuring and valuing outputs and outcomes
  • establishing impact and additionality
  • calculating Social Return on Investment
  • cost-benefit analysis.
Search our work

Measuring Giving in Money and Time by Business at a Local Level

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2013

This project helped develop an understanding of the contribution businesses can make to voluntary and community organisations at a local level. The project worked to address a widely acknowledged gap in evidence.

Our Big Gig

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2013-2014

Our Big Gig was a community music celebration which took place across the UK from the 11th to the 14th July 2013. This annual event aims to bring communities together to celebrate their local musical talents and get more people involved in music making.

All Our Big Gig events are organised by local volunteers on the ground in their communities with support from Superact’s Regional Managers. All events were at least four hours long, free to attend and open to all, providing attendees with opportunities to participate in a range of musical activities.

HMDT Impact Study

Project Director: Sarah Pearson
Project Duration: 2013-2015

Evaluation of the impacts of Holocaust Memorial Day, an annual commemoration of genocide atrocities that have taken place across the world. The aim was to uncover impacts of activities on what people know, feel and do with regard to previous atrocities and their future behaviour in relation to discrimination. The project involved longitudinal organiser and participant surveys, in-depth interviews with participants and stakeholders, and focus groups with participants.

Meta Evaluation of the 2012 games

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2011-2013

Peter Wells was an expert adviser to the team undertaking the Meta Evaluation of the London 2012 Games (Olympics and Paralympics). The role involved the review of the reports being produced by the evaluation team.

Collating and targeting evidence to achieve domains in the Public Health Outcomes Framework: How to reduce fuel poverty, excess winter death and illness

Project Director: Professor Angela Tod
Project Dates: 2012-2013

To develop a methodology for implementing public health evidence/ knowledge into policy and practice across new public health sectors and partners in order to achieve key public health outcomes for a defined population.  In the first instance, we focus on excess winter deaths and fuel poverty outcomes in the Public Health Outcomes Framework.

Get in touch

For further information please contact Professor Peter Wells at or call 0114 225 6262, or Sarah Pearson at or call 0114 225 4902.

Key clients

Age UK
Bolton CVS
Church Urban Fund
CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humberside
Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for South Yorkshire (CLAHRC SY)
European Women’s Audiovisual Network
Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT)
Healthwatch Lambeth
Heritage Lottery Fund
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
Lambeth Council
NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group
NHS England
Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action
Northern Rock Foundation
Oldham Council
Power to Change
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Trussell Trust
United Utilities
Yorkshire Adoption Agency
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