Two pairs of hands pointing out parts of a plan in an office environment


We can evaluate what works for your population and what doesn’t

Our approach to evaluation is pragmatic, working with clients to develop a tailored strategy that assesses the extent to which a programme has achieved its desired outcomes and impacts.  Our evaluations enable meaningful learning from the process of introducing new services, models of care or quality improvements to inform both service delivery improvements and future commissioning decisions.


What we do

Most evaluations will include several broad objectives:

  • Describing the nature of the programme
  • Reviewing the activity of the programme
  • Reviewing participant outcomes
  • Assessing satisfaction with the programme from the perspective of key stakeholders
  • Identifying areas for improvement

Before we carry out any evaluation we typically design a bespoke process for the particular projects or programmes using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. This may involve developing a standard evaluation framework, supported by a logic model, to identify information that will need to be collected and establish baseline data which can later be compared with participant outcomes to assess their impact.  Stakeholders and service users will be involved in the design as much as possible.

As well as conducting independent evaluations of individual projects or programmes we also provide expert advice to support health and social care programmes to assess and strengthen their evaluation methodology.

Why choose SPH?

We have extensive experience over many years in working with health and social care commissioners to evaluate projects and programmes. Some recent examples of our work are given below. Please get in touch via our contact page.

Case Studies

Evaluation of the Discharge to Assess initiative ‘Home First’ for a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

During the summer of 2017 SPH was commissioned by a CCG to evaluate a ‘Discharge to Assess’ initiative aimed at reducing the secondary care inpatient length of stay of elderly frail people who no longer have any medical needs. Home First is the name given to these Discharge to Assess schemes that aim to safely support the transfer and short term recuperation of elderly people home. Once people are at home and have recovered as much as possible of their day to day functioning they can be assessed, if necessary, for on-going home care or transfer to residential care. The evaluation SPH undertook was based on a mixed model of quantitative and qualitative measures. It provided a number of functions including:
  • Providing a detailed understanding of all aspects of the initiative for commissioners
  • Linking the original strategic objectives of the initiative with the day to day experience of people providing the service in managerial and operational roles and the challenges they face
  • Linking the original strategic objectives with activity and cost of the initiative
  • Recommending improvements and a plan for future evaluation
The key outcome of the evaluation was to inform the commissioning of the service in the longer term and identify immediate actions needed to strengthen the service in the short term in order for it to play a significant role in easing winter pressures at the local hospital NHS Trust. For a more in depth look at the rationale behind Home First schemes see this article published by The Guardian on 10 October 2017:

CAHBS Evaluation

SPH was commissioned by the Department of Health to evaluate a new Child and Adolescent Harmful Behaviour Service (CAHBS) for young people where there are concerns in relation to sexually harmful behaviours. The evaluation included analysis of the CAHBS activity database and interviews with key stakeholders, including staff making referrals to the service, senior managers and the families and carers of service users. The evaluation was used to inform future funding decisions about the service once the pilot funding period from the DH ended.  

An evaluation of continuing fitness to practice pilot for GPhC

The GPhC are in the process of implementing a new revalidation framework. After an extensive period of research and testing, they are now consulting on this proposed new framework SPH supported the GPhC by evaluating their pilot of the new process.  After developing and testing our evaluation logic model with the customer, we used a mixed methods approach including phone interviews, an online survey, analysis of entries made into the pilot system, a focus group and desk-based research.  From analysing and presenting the wealth of information gathered in a clear and concise way we were able to give the GPhC valuable insights to help them in their next steps. More background and the report are available here:  Developing revalidation for pharmacy professionals

An evaluation of a cancer programme in a London borough

The programme aimed to promote the early detection of cancer by improving population awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and to remove barriers to seeking help. The programme also sought to ensure that GPs had the knowledge and skills to make the most appropriate referrals and supported pharmacists to engage with customers to increase their awareness of cancer signs and symptoms and visit their GPs if appropriate.   Solutions for Public Health used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the overall effectiveness of the programme. These included analysis of routinely available cancer indicators along with locally available data, reviewing data collected by the programme such as survey responses, reviewing project documentation including costings, and conducting interviews and focus groups. These were collated to form a comprehensive and insightful evaluation report, which was used by the customer to support future priorities setting.

An evaluation of an end of life care education programme

SPH evaluated an education programme, targeted at staff within GP practices to improve end of life care. The evaluation included an assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of the training visits through interviews and analysis of service data, an audit of the impact of the programme on practice, including changes in behaviour and the accuracy of end of life care registers, and an analysis of hospital admissions data. The evaluation found improvements in the skills, behaviours and competence of staff around end of life care in the period following the training programme.

Assessing evaluation processes for prevention and early diagnosis schemes

SPH conducted a pilot study systematically exploring how NHS organisations and clinical commissioning groups are implementing prevention and early diagnosis schemes that promote behaviour modification in specific areas of health risks. The project identified prevention and early diagnosis schemes in a specified geographical region, to collect information about each scheme and assess schemes that met the inclusion criteria against an agreed evaluation framework examining the robustness of their evaluation process and the clinical and economic potential of the interventions. SPH also developed a searchable database for customer use.

An evaluation of a community-based alcohol service

SPH conducted an independent evaluation of a specialist community-based alcohol assessment, support and detoxification service. This involved quantitative analysis of the services’ performance and activity data and qualitative interviews with staff involved in delivering the service, wider stakeholders who had dealings with the service and service users. SPH also assessed the service’s compliance with key elements of their service specification and compared the interventions offered against national guidance. The report provided a comprehensive overview of the service to inform future service provision.