Evaluating projects or programmes allows us to see if the activities  they are delivering will result in the intended changes and create the greatest impact. It enables us to identify what’s working ... and equally importantly what isn’t.

This allows evidence based decisions to be made in relation to what is required to improve performance. Any evaluation undertaken needs to be proportionate and a reasonable balance struck between ‘doing’ and ‘proving’.  The Improvement Service is working with key partners to carry out and/or support evaluations.

Evaluation support to external organisations can take place at varying levels. The extent to which assistance  is provided will determine whether or not the service is freely available or there is a charge.

Examples of the support that can be provided include:

  • Acting as a critical friend and offering guidance or commenting on proposals
  • Participating in reference groups or meetings
  • Skills transfer to key staff
  • Independent evaluations for external organisations on a funded basis.  The support provided can be tailored to meet individual needs. A wide range of evaluations and reviews can be carried out focussing on outcomes, process or both. Social value reports and social return on investment analyses can also be undertaken.

For an informal discussion please contact Karen Carrick, Evaluation Manager at

Current work

  1. Research and evaluation in relation to potential funding models that can be used for dissemination of the debt levy funding that has been devolved to the Scottish Government.
  2. The impact of COVID-19 on local authority funded money and welfare rights advice services.
  3. A  Social Return on Investment Analysis of the Maximise! Programme in Edinburgh.
  4. A  review of the Smarter Choices Smarter Places grants programme managed by Paths for All.

Previous work

  1. The production of a Social Return on Investment analysis, in partnership with NHS Lothian, Dundee City Council and Granton Information Centre, which found that every £1 invested in the co-location of advice workers in medical practices would generate around £39 in social and economic benefits.
  2. Evaluation of the Illegal Money Lending Prevention Programme supported by Trading Standards Scotland. The first report evaluated the impact of the Scotcash Money MOT project. A second report looks at three projects which sought to tackle illegal money ending by using different approaches.
  3. In partnership with Stepchange Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland, Money and Pension Service and the Institute of Revenues, Rating & Valuation’s (Scotland) the production of a guide to ‘Collaborative Council Tax Collection’. The guide seeks to offer a set of principles to support a collaborative approach between those in Scottish councils who are responsible for administering council tax and those offering debt and money advice, on either an internal or external basis.
Karen Carrick - Evaluation Manager