Evaluation & Learning

The Early Action Neighbourhood Fund evaluation and learning contract is being delivered by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University.

2018: Year Three Reports

Revisiting the Programme Theory of Change. Provides a summary of the process by which the theory of change has been revisited and updated, guiding the evaluation going forwards.

2017: Year Two Reports

Year Two Programme Report. Includes a discussion of the programme theory of change and its underlying assumptions, and emerging evidence from each of the pilots.

Exploring small n approaches to attributing impact. Discusses different approaches that can be used to attribute impact to an intervention when the number of cases for analysis is small - with a particular focus on contribution analysis.

2016: Year One Reports

Year One Programme Report and accompanying summary version. Includes the theory and practice of early action, EANF governance and funding, details of the EANF pilots, discussion and learning.

Learning Report - Building Alliances. Learning on getting people on board, building governance structures, keeping things going and widening influence.

Learning Report - Evidence and Data. Learning early action and the importance of evidence and data, EANF approaches to outcomes, evidence and data.


About the evaluation and learning contract

The evaluation has four main objectives:

  • understand the effectiveness of EANF pilot projects, why they worked and under what circumstances, identifying key factors within projects' theories of change that facilitate shifts towards early action

  • understand the impact the projects have, why they have worked, and under what circumstances, both in terms of improved outcomes for service users, and in cost savings or efficiencies

  • generate robust evidence that will help grant holders to deliver successful projects, and to demonstrate the case for early action as well as the transformation in service delivery required to achieve it

  • understand what has and has not worked in the design and delivery of the EANF programme, and the conditions of funding that are most supportive and conducive to this type of transformation in service delivery.

The evaluation is adopting a mixed methods approach to understand the process and impact of the programme. Research methods include interviews with key stakeholders in funding agencies and commissioning and delivery organisations, and the collation and analysis of data on project spend and outputs, and improved outcomes for those benefiting from innovations in service delivery. In addition, case studies will explore key EANF themes.

Learning from the evaluation will be shared through annual programme evaluation and learning reports and regular feedback to EANF grant holders, programme funders and more widely through learning events.

For further information contact:   Sarah Pearson s.pearson@shu.ac.uk / www.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/