In association with

  • Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board
  • West of England Academic Health Science Network
  • National Institute for Health Research


Evaluation requires an investment of time, money and resources and so before you begin, assess whether you should be conducting an evaluation before making the investment.


The assessment steps are:

  1. Identify whether you need to do an evaluation
  2. Check whether you are doing an evaluation

Do I Need to do an Evaluation?

There are a number of questions to consider before and while you are planning your evaluation, to help you assess whether to invest your time and resources into an evaluation of your service or product.  These include:

  1. Do I already know the answer?
  2. Is the purpose and audience for the evaluation clear?
  3. Is it feasible, is the context conducive and will I be able to use the results?
  4. Do benefits of conducting the evaluation outweigh the costs and risks?
  5. Is it the right time?
  6. Are there other options?

Having completed step 1 we recommend that you review and discuss these questions with your stakeholders and ask yourselves – are we able to conduct an evaluation and will the evaluation provide us with valuable information? This will help you decide whether to proceed.

Am I Doing an Evaluation?

Once you have identified the need to do an evaluation and planned your approach it is important that you check that you are doing a service/product evaluation and not research.  This is because different project types require different ethical and governance considerations.  To do this we recommend you use the Health Research Authority’s decision tool and keep a record of the outcome.

Local Experts

There are experts that can help to identify the right approach for your evaluation as well as provide expert advice on any ethics and governance implications. This will vary depending on your organisation but consider:

  • Research and Development and or Evaluation lead in Public Sector organisations, e.g. NHS, Police, Council
  • Clinical Governance, audit, quality improvement and/or effectiveness lead
  • University Ethics department

‘Evaluation can inform thinking before, during and after an intervention’s implementation’

The Magenta Book (2020)

Top Tip!

Plan your evaluation early with your key stakeholders: it is good practice to plan your evaluation when deciding priorities and designing services or products. This will help ensure that you use the most appropriate methodology, allocate adequate resources and set realistic timescales.