Evaluation

‘Evaluation’ has a variety of definitions and there are a vast array of approaches and uses. But in the context of my work, I define evaluation a bit like this:

Evaluation’s purpose is to identify and provide relevant, meaningful and useful evidence that has been analysed and interpreted to help embed learning, inform decisions and overcome challenges. In a nutshell, it’s all about a greater understanding of something.

It’s important to know that embedded evaluation means that it is fit for purpose with your needs and aims in mind. Evaluation is not ‘one size fits all’ and should always acknowledge diverse perspectives and value the stakeholders and participants who engage with it.

Costing & Time

A piece of advice – if you’re delivering a project, get your evaluator on-board as soon as possible. Often evaluation is thought of as something you do at the end, and while evaluation reports do often come at the end of projects, great evaluation is planned and embedded into the delivery of a project.

So, how do you plan the timing and budget for evaluation? A general rule of thumb when budgeting a project is to build in between 5-7% of the overall cost of your project for evaluation. The bigger the project, the higher the percentage, although this isn’t always what you end up paying an external evaluator (don’t forget to think about your time too!). Evaluators can work with you to help plan, guide, strategise and design your evaluation, support you to gather it and guide you through interpreting and writing it up, or they can jump back in and do the analysis, interpretation and report writing for you.*

My fees are £300 per day.** To put this into context, a budget of £5k for evaluation will provide you with approx. 16 days and cover my expenses for a project local to Sheffield. It’s important to note that I will always be honest about whether I am the right evaluator for your project and if I am not, I will do my best to recommend a suitable professional from my network.

If you are interested in working together or just want to have an informal chat about evaluation, please do get in touch.

PS: You really should make the most of your evaluator! They are your critical friend and will tell you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear…and that is a true friend.

Select Evaluation Projects

Below is a selection of evaluation projects I have worked on over the last couple of years. If you would like a copy of my complete CV or to discuss access to evaluation reports for academic or peer support, please do contact me. I am a member of the UK Evaluation Society.

Create Sheffield
Sheffield Adventures – Evaluating Create Sheffield’s relaunch of the Sheffield Adventures commission programme. Conducting qualitative and quantitative research exploring the impact the programme has on upholding Create Sheffield’s mission and values, promoting the organisation across the City (including a more inclusive reach across its communities), building meaningful partnerships across a variety of sectors, and the impact on children and young people’s exploration of and learning in the City. 10-month contract, 2021-22.

Why Creativity Matters Now – Working collaboratively with staff & external contractors to embed evaluation and reporting into the Why Creativity Matters Now events and Creative Education strategy. Reporting specifically on the impact the event conversations have on cross-sector working between education and arts & culture sectors across the City, exploring individual professional development (with particular focus on education providers), and organisational development and resilience. 10-month contract, 2020-21.
Image courtesy of Create Sheffield.

Sheffield Climate Alliance
Lottery Climate Action Fund (LCAF) Development Phase & Can Do South Yorkshire – Evaluation to assess and reflect on the learning garnered from the LCAF phase and project’s main goals of partnership working across the South Yorkshire region, engagement frameworks and programming of public engagement (city-wide 12 month programme), and a delivery model for climate action Hubs (physical and digital). 12-month contract, 2021-22.

Guild of St George
Ruskin in Sheffield – Providing support to the Creative Producer to retrospectively evaluate the 6 year long City-wide programme of activity. Guidance on methodology, data capture, data analysis and reporting (report templates, copy-editing and proofing). 3-month contract, 2020.
Image courtesy of Guild of St George

West Midlands Museum Development Trust
Open to All Audit – Working in partnership with the West Midlands Museums Development team to develop and run the Open to All Audit programme. Providing evaluation training to 8 museums in the region and conducting on-site in-depth evaluation of the museums to review and evaluate the wellbeing access and offer of the museums’ collections, learning programmes and organisational strategies (staffing, volunteering, policies etc). 2019.

Museums:
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Market Hall Museum
Pen Museum
Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Rugby Museum & Art Gallery
Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
Tudor House Museum
Winterbourne House & Garden

*You may also wish to consider the recruitment of an evaluator into your plans – organisations often have policies stating that a spend over £5-10k needs to go out to tender, which can be a lengthy and challenging process, however under that amount, you can justifiably and transparently recruit you evaluator without having to go through a full recruitment process – meaning you can choose your evaluator even before you have secured funding and build into the budget accordingly. This can be a useful approach to ensure you bring on an evaluator at the start of a project so that they can support you throughout the project duration.

**This figure is based on the amount funders tend to value professional expertise offered on a voluntary basis.