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Involving users in evaluation


Over the last few years ESS has been supporting third sector organisations to involve people they work with in evaluation.

In 2015 we developed a workbook 'Why bother involving people in evaluation? Beyond feedback' which came out of our work 'Support in the right direction'. More info here 

Involving young people in evaluation (2018 - 2019)

ESS is working with the National Lottery Community Fund to provide learning and self-evaluation support to their grantholders in Scotland.  This is the second phase of our learning programme on involving young people in planning or doing evaluation. We’ve learnt a lot from the first phase of the programme. We know that while it isn’t always smooth sailing, project leads have told us involving young people they support has helped their organisation as well as benefiting young people. Young people are fantastic evaluation problem solvers! 

In the first phase, young people told us that getting involved in designing evaluation questions and methods was:

"It was an honour to be asked and included in something that is ultimately going to help future service users"

"I felt like this was good and it’s changed my view of what you guys do for us"

"Designing our own evaluations makes us feel good"

"I had fun!"

The project leads felt that by getting young people on board with shaping evaluation methods had helped them gather more authentic and richer feedback as well as increasing participation in evaluation.

Case studies from phase one: 

Springhall and Whitlawburn Youth Development Team - Getting evaluation done without lots of moans and groans!

Gowrie Care's Streets Ahead service - The power of the emoji

Phase two

In the second phase of the learning programme we will be working with the following projects. 



Regen: Fx Youth Trust

Springhall and Whitlawburn Youth Development Team

Canongate Youth

My Place My Space

Perth & District YMCA



Lost in Transition


YoMo Health Champions Programme

Beatroute Arts

Beatroute Arts Youth Activities

Youth Highland

YOUth Led

Strathmore Centre for Youth Development

Community Connections

TYKES (The Young Karers East Sutherland)

Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre Perth & Kinross Family Support and Impact Project    


User involvement workshop participants

In June 2019 we came together and ran a learning session, where we supported project leads to develop an action plan, using Why bother involving people in evaluation - beyond feedback as a guide.

From June to November 2019 – project leads will carry out their actions

In December 2019 we will come back together for a sharing the learning session.

More case studies will be coming by the end of the year! Watch this space.

You may also be interested in reading this NPC blog and resource about user involvement:

Why we need to do user involvement right

Make it count: Why impact matters in user involvement 

Related Resources

Other Resources

Why bother involving people in evaluation? – Beyond feedback

This workbook can help you plan why, when and how to involve the people you work with in evaluation.

Other Resources

Why does evaluation matter in Co-Production?

A blog from Dawn Smith (Public Engagement Officer at Edinburgh Napier University) about the Scottish Co-Production Network's workshop on Evaluating ...

Inspiring Impact resource

Involving users in shaping services (Feb 2018)

Inspiring Impact has produced a guide to share examples and tips from organisations who involve their users in shaping their ...


Young people taking the lead on evaluation NEW

Young people taking the lead on evaluation - Key messages from 11th April 2019

Case study

Case Study: Involving Service users in setting outcomes - ARC Scotland

This case study shows how ARC Scotland involved service users in setting outcomes for service commissioning by Aberdeenshire Council. It ...

Case study

Getting evaluation done without lots of moans and groans!

This case study from Springhall and Whitlawburn Youth Development Team is about the benefits of involving young people in evaluation ...

Case study

The power of the emoji

This case study from Gowrie Care's Streets Ahead service shows how the organisation involved their service users in evaluation.

Other resource

Make it count: Why impact matters in user involvement NEW

This paper from NPC argues for a greater focus in the charity sector on what user involvement aims to achieve, ...

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