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Header image for the current page Relationships are the key to successful evaluation

Relationships are the key to successful evaluation

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Why trust between project teams and their evaluators is crucial to the success of new models of care, by Wendy Lane, Director of Consultancy Services, Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit.

NHS England set clear expectations from the outset of the vanguard programme for both planning and evaluation. Use of logic models has set the groundwork for effective formative evaluation which is used to shape how you design and deliver a programme of work.

Arden & GEM CSU is providing evaluation support to a number of vanguard sites, and what is clear from our work to date is that good evaluation is about more than just tools and techniques. It is about relationships. How project teams and evaluators work together can have a significant impact on our collective ability to deliver first class evaluation to benefit the NHS.

Core ingredients for successful evaluation

Vanguards are extremely committed to their work programmes. Getting it right could mean radical improvements for patients, but innovation is uncertain. We must all be prepared to adapt and change our models as outcomes dictate.

Done right, your evaluation team should be your right arm – fully embedded in the project to understand the journey and provide good insight, objective assessment, facilitation and support throughout.

We have found successful evaluation requires five key ingredients:

  1. Relationship building
  2. Project team control and ownership
  3. Open clear transparent language
  4. Early involvement and realistic timelines
  5. Relevant expertise

Evaluation is not about judging individuals or project teams but about understanding processes and their impact – being prepared to adapt and change in response to what the feedback is telling us about what works and what does not.

If the NHS is serious about being a learning organisation, we must continuously work together to assess the impact of what we’re doing so that other sites can replicate vanguard successes efficiently.

Find out more about our evaluation service, by visiting our service transformation page.

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Author: Wendy Lane |

Wendy is consultancy services director, overseeing service innovation and development for new and emerging markets such as GP federations, provider organisations and new care models.  She has over 20 years’ experience in the health service, in both the acute and commissioning sectors, including director level responsibility for operations, service transformation and care integration.