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There is demand for you to evaluate your practice and your services. Evaluation is a good way to measure performance and carry out internal quality assurance. There should be real commitment to learn from evaluation in order to instigate changes. This should not just be a tick box exercise. You should also be innovative when carrying out evaluations as standard questionnaires might put people off. Badly designed evaluations might also not be fit for purpose.

Evaluation of practice

We will start by looking at your practice. This will involve reflecting and assessing how well you have carried out your job role. The criteria for your evaluations should be clearly defined such as based on job specification and performance indicators

Evaluation can be carried out in a number of ways that could involve getting a feedback form or questionnaire completed regarding your practice. Remember to keep the form short and focused on the questions you want to know. You should also consider when to deploy the form. Is it at the end, middle or end of your meeting? You have to avoid times when people are in a hurry to leave or when they are most likely not to concentrate.

You might also benefit from peer evaluation where those you work with can provide you feedback. This might be a good way, as your peers understand some pressures and other dynamics that apply to you within your organisation. This might allow them to give a holistic overview of your practice.

Self-evaluation might also be a good idea to measure how you are doing. You should however remember not to over or under evaluate your self. This type of evaluation is more effective if your responses are similar or match up with those of third parties such as your peers and service users.

Evaluation of your services

Evaluation of your services will involve collecting information from a number of stakeholders. This information is then analysed in order to have an idea if outcomes are being met.  This will also hopefully measure the effectiveness of your services and check if they are fit for purpose. The process will also hopefully identify areas that are being performed well and those that require improvement.

Remember ethics and good practice when carrying out evaluation. All your participants should clearly be informed the purpose and method of the evaluation. They should know what happens to the data and how it is used. Consider the impact of GDPR here.

Also consider other aspects of how you can increase the reliability of the information you gather. It might be worthwhile ensuring there are opportunities to triangulate the feedback in order to improve the quality of information provided. Asking your friends or just a handful of people might not give you an accurate picture.

Organisations that rely on funding are increasing required to provide evidence of evaluation of services. Evaluation can be done as either formative or summative. Formative evaluation takes place at the beginning where you carry out a needs assessment to identify demand for the services. This is shortly followed by evaluating the process of implementation. Here you will be mostly checking if the services are operating as planned. This is critical to ensure the services are fit for purpose earlier on rather at a later stage.

Summative evaluation is mainly conducted at a later stage to see if the services are achieving their outcome. This might involve looking at short, medium and long terms goals. As part of outcome evaluation your interest might be to improve attitudes, acceptance and knowledge about your services. The main evaluation tests the impact of the services on people or other entities. This might involve checking on long-term changes that have resulted due to your services.

An important principle when carrying out organisational evaluation is to ensure you evidence a commitment for service user involvement. It might be a good idea to get service users involved in the design of your evaluation systems. Instead of just a standard questionnaire, you might want to consider interviews and focus groups as part of your evaluation strategies. Remember, evaluation should not just be a tick box exercise.