NCVO, OPM and IVR conducted an ‘early years’ evaluation of Big Local in 2014 and produced a framework to help steer future evaluation activities. This framework was discussed by trustees and developed further. The plan for the evaluation for the remainder of the programme takes into account the ideas from the evaluators together with the ideas and feedback from trustees and staff.
Given the number of Big Local areas involved, the timescale of the programme and light touch ethos the evaluators concluded that there is no single off the shelf methodology that will do all that was needed. Hence, they felt it important that the evaluation framework:
- is ‘whole’ programme focused but able to distinguish the contribution of particular key activities/processes/structures within the Big Local programme;
- enables comparison through time and over the evolution of Big Local;
- enables outcomes to be understood in relation to key processes and structures underpinning the implementation of Big Local (and its constituent parts);
- is easy to interpret and implement and retains a light-touch approach, minimising demands on research respondents;
- will reinforce continuous improvement and learning across Big Local in a formative and learning manner; and
- lends itself to review and refinement as the programme evolves.
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