Impact and Evaluation

The Well North Evaluation team has been alongside the original ten Pathfinders from the beginning. They judged, in a nutshell, how well everything was going with our Pathfinders, and made sure our processes, through the original programme, were continually improving. This page is intended to give you a bit of background about how the team worked, what their aims were, and how they are helping the Well North programme to be as successful as it has been.

Acknowledging that demonstrating change in work like this takes time, the Well North Evaluation team will continue to be alongside Pathfinders over the next few years. Continued learning will be shared here.

Our methodologies stemmed from our commitment to finding innovative and effective ways to evaluate something as complex and multi-faceted as health inequalities, to allow us to gain insights into whether what the programme was doing was working.

To lay the foundations, we hosted a 60-person event with academics, public servants, community activists and politicians to put our heads together and explore the best way to evaluate our work. The result was a combination of methods which look at the actual, tangible impact of what we’re doing, how we can keep doing it, and how we can improve.

Rapid Cycle Evaluation (RCE)

RCE has been the overarching approach taken by the team in the evaluation of Well North. This means that, rather than acting just as a tool for evaluation, the team provided regular, ongoing feedback to the Pathfinders to allow them to know what’s working and continually improve going forwards. This approach allowed us to remove unnecessary bureaucracy, improve our working standards and increase cost efficiency.

Realist Evaluation

Within RCE, the team used Realist Evaluation methods, which focused on looking at the real, tangible results and implications of the situation, such as what actually happened, why it happened, how we know our activity made it happen and whether we could produce the same outcome in different circumstances. This method allows us to find out whether our activity produced the expected, desired effect, and if not, what unexpected beneficial or detrimental effects were produced.

How We Gathered Our Data

At each stage of the programme, we applied a multi-method approach, balancing quantitative and qualitative techniques to collect data and gather the stories that paint the pictures of our success. Embedded in the philosophy of the evaluation is a creative approach. This allowed the team to discover the important issues that more conventional approaches would have missed, making our outcomes more wide-ranging and engaging. The team also ensure that validated and standardised tools for information collection are included. These allows for comparable measures between and within areas, tailored specifically to the needs and requirements of the local population. As such, the team use methods ranging from surveys and questionnaires, to focus groups and interviews to gather a wealth of information that generates rich narratives about how community members were experiencing and receiving the activities delivered through Well North.

Our Model of Change

Throughout the evaluation process, we have been capturing and learning from critical change moments, using a tool developed by the Well North team. If you’d like to know more, do please get in touch.