The Early Intervention Foundation has just published a useful report on the potential pitfalls associated with evaluating the effectiveness of programmes designed to improve outcomes for young people. The learning is transferable across the public and third sectors, so I thought it worth sharing, here.
EIF says “High-quality evidence on ‘what works’ plays an essential part in improving the design and delivery of public services, and ultimately outcomes for the people who use those services. Early intervention is no different: early intervention programmes should be commissioned, managed and delivered to produce the best possible results for
children and young people at risk of developing long-term problems.”
The 6 pitfalls and potential solutions are shown below and you can download the full report here. I’ve worked with a number of charities to help them develop effective impact and measurement systems so I recognise many of these issues. In a perfect world, there would be a lot more Random Controlled Trials conducted to evaluate what works. In the real world, this may not be practical and many commissioners/funders are simply not prepared to allocate the necessary resources to design and implement a decent evaluation system. The danger, of course, is that we continue to see funding of interventions that are little more than “pet projects” and there is no real benefit for the intended beneficiaries.