Many AOD service providers think they are achieving their goals, but have no way of proving they are meeting the expectations of both clients and stakeholders.
These “known unknowns” are what motivate many alcohol and other drug services to contact 360Edge, and there’s only one solution to this problem: evaluate!
Evaluation aims to improve the quality of health services and systems by establishing their impact, effectiveness or reach.
It can answer direct questions like ”does this treatment work?”, or “how effective is this approach?” as well as deeper, more complex, queries like why something works, who it works for, and how likely it is that it will continue to work.
Evaluation, if done well, can allow insights from successful programs to be embedded within, or translated across systems.
When prioritising investment in services, evaluation often misses out on its share of attention. The nuts and bolts of delivering programs can have a more tangible appeal than defining, monitoring and measuring what’s being accomplished.
But often it’s only when things are underway that we have a chance to step back and consider how well we are travelling.
Even if a program has been largely successful, being fully accountable means being able to demonstrate this success.
The Earlier The Better!
Programs that build evaluation into their initial design are best.
Evaluation encourages consideration of fundamental questions like what are we doing? What do we hope to achieve? For who? How will we know we have succeeded?
Having to consider these questions from the outset helps align an organisation’s activities with its purpose.
Building evaluation in early helps ensure that the policies and procedures that support programs have sufficient clarity. A strong evaluation foundation also allows programs to monitor performance and continually improve.
This doesn’t mean that evaluations can’t be helpful once a program or service is up and running, but it can be more challenging, especially as points of ready comparison (like pre intervention baseline data) may not be available.
Tailor To Your Needs
Evaluation can take a variety of forms.
The context of the evaluation, the questions being answered, the methods selected type service or program under examination, what data is available, as well as a range of human and financial constraints all have a bearing.
Evaluations can be formative (where the evaluation has an impact on program or service design) or summative (providing a ‘final answer’ on a program or service’s effectiveness or impact).
Regardless of methodologies used, all evaluations use structured thinking processes to identify the key questions to be answered by the evaluation, map the potential relationship between factors that lead to the desired outcome, as well as underlying assumptions. Evaluations can combine hard (quantitative) data with more qualitative inputs, meaning important context factors and multiple perspectives can be considered.
The range of methods and flexibility in approaches means that as long as an evaluation is robust, systematic and data-driven it has the ability to deliver powerful insights.
We can help!
Evaluation can be complex. It requires an understanding of the sciences of measurement and statistics and requires real-word skills in engaging diverse stakeholders to work towards a common purpose.
360Edge are experienced in combining a range of evaluation methodologies to deliver powerful insights.
We pride ourselves in working closely with organisations to ensure that our evaluations answer the questions that matter, and have meaningful and lasting impacts.
Looking to evaluate? Get in touch!