Evaluation services

As part of our Institute’s charitable mission, we offer tailored, independent, credible and evidence-based services helping social ventures from around the world to measure and improve their impact, develop outcomes frameworks and drive efficiency.  We use the Theory of Change and have structures to provide support at the highest standards locally, nationally and internationally. We are an approved provider of the Impact Management Programme for the Impact for Growth strand, funded by the Access Foundation and the Power to Change and we were originally involved in the structuring of the youth evidence London hub Project Oracle. We have supported organisations such as The Anne Frank Trust, Detention Action, Greater Manchester Probation Trust, Young Mayors, London Probation Trust and the British Council.

To discuss your organisational needs and to get a quote contact IARS Director, Dr. Theo Gavrielides, T.Gavrielides@iars.org.uk

Examples of our services include:

  1. Develop or strengthen a bespoke Theory of Change and outcomes framework.
  2. Develop tailored measuring tools for the above and capacity-build social ventures to collect data themselves.
  3. Collect and analyse data on behalf of social ventures for evaluation and strategic purposes.
  4. Help ventures understand the collected data and translate them into strategic aims and business plans.
  5. Monitor their strategic aims and by extension measure their social impact.
  6. Help ventures put a monetary value on their social impact activities (e.g. SROI).
  7. Develop strategies, business plans and help with initial implementation stages including identifying appropriate funding avenues.
  8. Provide relevant training courses that are CPD accredited (face-to-face & online).
  9. Help achieve relevant kitemarks and publish data in peer reviewed Journals including our own Youth Voice Journal.
  10. Support funding applications covering the evaluation side of proposed projects, while also providing tailored services to already resourced programmes.
  11. Support organisations in the public, private and charitable sectors to develop youth-led internal structures and projects including Youth Advisory Board (YAB), youth-led evaluation and youth-led policies.
Examples of Organisations & Social Ventures that we supported:
  • We conducted a one-year intense evaluation of Cabinet Office’s Impact Readiness Fund provider, Khulisa, looking at the quality and impact of their criminal justice interventions, translating the results from the primary and secondary research into strategic aims, and putting monetary value to their social interventions (via SORI measurement)
  • We are the research and evaluation partner of The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime Restore:London project (2017-19), which is the first ever pan London Restorative Justice Service, a victim-led approach to the provision of restorative justice across London. IARS collected data from victims and offenders to design the service and subsequently worked with the Mayor’s office to evaluate it through qualitative methodologies.
  • Over one year (2018), we have lead on the evaluation of the Restore: Respect Pilot Project funded by the Home Office aiming to reduce hate crime in the area of Bradford through restorative justice interventions. We published an evaluation report on the outcomes of the project.
  • Over 5 years (2012 – 17), we lead on the evaluation of the Big Lottery Fund Realising Ambition ‘The Anne Frank Trust’s Schools and Ambassadors programme’ aiming to reduce prejudice and hate crime among young people.
  • Over 3 years (2014-17), we supported Detention Action to develop a Theory of Change, collect data on their social impact with interventions with migrant detainees, translate them into strategy and measure their cost effectiveness.
  • Over one year (2010), we conducted evaluation of the Young Mayors’ scheme in London.
  • Over 2 years (2012-14), we collected and analysed data to measure the performance of the London Probation Trust in relation to their services to Black and minority ethnic offenders, translated them into strategies and a peer reviewed book, an international conference, and developed a training tool that is now being delivered to probation staff across England.
  • Over one year (2012-13), we supported Greater Manchester Probation Trust to develop a regional strategy for the use of restorative justice with serious youth violence, street group violence (e.g. riots) and gang related crime. We collected data to inform this strategy and published a book on the findings.
  • Over 5 years (2009-14), we collected and analysed data to self-evaluate our own the Big Lottery Funded Programme ” London Youth Now” a  policy, awareness raising and skills development programme that aimed to encourage community cohesion.
  • Over 2 years (2008-9), we helped the British Council to develop a strategy and business plan to develop a social venture in the Middle East (youth-led research network); provided training and strategic support to young Arabs leading to the built up of the Young Arab Research Network.
  • Over 2 years (2011-13), we supported the London Serious Youth Violence Board to set up, train and develop a Youth Advisory Board to steer and guide their internal and external policies and practices.
  • Since our establishment, we have also been carrying out independent evaluations of various restorative justice interventions in probation, the community, prisons and schools.
Our Approach: Tailored | Accredited | Match-funding

When supporting social ventures, we always try to match fund the costs while tapping into our existing research infrastructures including our international Academic Board and Research Ethics Committee, peer review journal and our publishing arm. We can support funding applications covering the evaluation side of proposed projects, while also providing tailored services to already resourced programmes.

IARS is a CPD accredited training provider (all our courses and events are accredited with CPD points). Our  training sessions have been developed and are based on extensive research. IARS is an approved member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). This means that IARS reports, publications, evaluation and research strategies adhere to high ethical standards. We have several kitemarks (e.g. Youth Mark), and monitor our own ToC and strategic aims through internal and external evaluation processes.

Our Methodology

Always assessing and taking into consideration the needs of our clients as well as the requirements and the nature of their projects, we offer a tailored approach to their needs that can include:

  • Face-to-face, online and telephone support
  • Allocated staff member who is always supervised by the IARS Founder and Director Professor Dr. Theo Gavrielides
  • Qualitative and quantiative based fieldwork (using tools such as focus groups, interviews, observation, questionnaires and surveys).
  • Quantitative evaluation using control or comparison groups to demonstrate causality.
  • Report and Executive Summary with evidence based recommendations for improved practices at the individual, practice and strategic levels
  • Opportunity for a wider circulation and publication through our publishing networks including peer reviewed report of publishable standard and quality reviewed by IARS international Academic Board.

We use tools such as the Theory of Change (ToC) and the Nesta Standards of Evidence. We do so by aligning them with high academic standards and thus we have a standing, independent and international Academic Board that supports and reviews our work (currently 24 experts).

Through the ToC, we help social ventures to identify the building blocks required to bring about their long-term goals (inputs – outputs – outcomes) and measure them through appropriate methods such as: evaluation of specific outputs through self-completion questionnaires (e.g. events, volunteering opportunities, training), readers’ surveys, pre and post surveys and regular interval surveying, online and face-to-face repeat surveys (e.g for offender or victim support programmes), collecting users’ narratives (esp. for interventions), carry out cohort/ panel studies.

Depending on the NESTA level that the venture is or aspires to progress to, we will help them collect data that will isolate the impact of their services and validate their findings externally. Here, we use control groups, future scenario analysis, data on costs, multiple replication evaluations and fidelity evaluation. At Level 5, demonstrable evidence that their services’ positive impact is scalable and Kitemarks are pursued.

Case Studies

Some of our evaluation examples include:

Restore: Respect Project Evaluation: Evaluating Restorative Justice For Hate Crime 

IARS conducted an evaluation using our evaluation infrastructure with an aim to provide an independent, robust and evidence-based overview that may help determine the efficacy of Restore: Respect over its 12-month delivery period. We adopted a mixed methodology by utilising both qualitative and quantitative data sources, including questionnaires, feedback evaluation forms and online surveys. Below are some of the quotes from our evaluation:

“As demonstrated by the findings, the project has achieved all its intended outputs. While some outcomes are easier to identify as fully completed, some others will need more time to demonstrate effectiveness.”

“We have evidence to believe that through its behavioural outcomes this project has contributed to decreasing conflict and harm, and also by empowering young people, it has reduced the feeling of isolation.”

Detention Action: Evaluation of the Detention Action Community Support Project

IARS carried out a formative and summative evaluation of the 3-year Detention Action project. We adopted a qualitative strategy to evaluate the effectiveness of the project by utilising qualititative research methods, including semi-structured interviews, focus groups, ethnographic observations and questionnaires. Below are some of the quotes from our evaluation:

“The project is unique, as it is fillingthe gap in services for young people released from detention, who present complex immigration history, strong links with the UK and criminal record.”

“The holistic approach employed in the programme is its greatest strength.”

Ethical Standards

As independent, evidence-based evaluators and a research-based organisation, we ensure that we follow highly ethical standards always incorporating the following structures in our projects:

    • IARS Research and Ethics Handbook,
    • Independent Review by the Ethical Standards Committee of the Editorial Board,
    • Self – assessment monitoring of participants,
    • Application of ESRC Ethics Framework,
    • Data Protection Law,
    • Confidentiality and Consent forms.
COPE Membership (Committee on Publication Ethics)

IARS is a member of the Committee on Publications Ethics (see: http://www.publicationethics.org/). COPE provides advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics and, in particular, how to handle cases of research and publication misconduct. This means that IARS Publications adheres to high ethical standards in publishing.