Our Strategy 2023 – 28

Read our latest strategy for 2023 – 28 here.

ESS roles

ESS is the expert voice on third sector evaluation in Scotland.

What that means is we:

  1. Train and support third sector organisations and funders to do evaluation in a straightforward way.
  2. Provide solutions to evaluation challenges.
  3. Influence evaluation and learning practice by championing what “good” looks like and sharing third sector experience.
  4. Broker learning relationships between funded and funders.
  5. Facilitate the use of third sector evaluation for learning and improvement in third sector organisations and in wider policy.
  6. Strengthen third sector research practice.

The way we work

  • We are accessible.  We use plain English. We are friendly.  We work in a way that meets the different needs and abilities of people and organisations.
  • We work collaboratively with organisations, combining their expertise with ours to generate evaluation approaches they can own, develop and run with.
  • We use different and creative ways to engage people in evaluation.  We promote a wide range of evaluation tools.
  • We are a centre of expertise on self-evaluation in the third sector and we share what we know.
  • We work in positive partnership with others, sharing our learning and adding value to the expertise of others. We provide effective platforms for evaluation evidence to reach intended (and unintended) audiences.
  • We promote a culture of learning within ESS.  We seek feedback from everyone we work with so we learn from our successes and weaknesses and get better at what we do.
  • ESS is a good place to work.  We support and develop our staff and trustees so they can fulfill their roles and feel valued. 

Service Standards

To ensure we meet these operating values we commit to the following customer care standards:

  • We reply to e-mails or phone messages within five working days.
  • We let you know if we cannot respond to you within that time and we keep you informed of what action we are taking on your behalf.
  • If you phone and we transfer you to another person we will make sure you know who you are going to speak to and why you are being transferred.
  • We ask you if you have any access needs when we work with you and ensure that, as far as possible, we meet them.  This includes running training in accessible venues and providing larger print documents on request.  Please ask us if you want to see our equalities policy.


If you want to complain about any area of our work, please contact Steven Marwick, ESS’s Director.  If Steven does not satisfactorily answer your complaint, or your complaint is about him, please contact our Board of Trustees.  Our convenor is Diarmid Hearns.

Image of Steven


Steven Marwick

About Steven

Steven Marwick is the founding Director of Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS). He has overall responsibility for strategic and operational management and reports to the board of trustees. He provides evaluation support to third sector organisations, runs learning programmes and facilitates our networks with funders and with third sector evaluation champions. He works with Scottish Government to improve positive funding relationships and to support the use of third sector evidence.

Steven’s previous jobs include policy and research posts in the National Lottery Community Fund and Scottish Government and he has served on the boards of Eczema Outreach Support, Volunteer Centre Edinburgh and the Association of Chief Officers of Voluntary Organisations. Steven relaxes by swimming, running and going to concerts (not all at the same time!).

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