Evaluating Prevention

Many third sector organisations prevent bad things happening to people, but prevention is hard to evaluate. 

“How do we measure something that hasn’t happened?!”

This page has our general guide to evaluating prevention and links to specific resources and case studies.

Our main message is that evaluating prevention is not about measuring that a bad thing didn’t happen.  Instead you evaluate the presence of positive outcomes for people who are at risk of bad things happening.

General resource on evaluating prevention

  • Evaluating prevention resource

    This guide shares learning from our work about how to evaluate prevention.  We suggest approaches you can take and share examples from the third sector.

This resource explains the 4 steps to evaluating prevention:

Step 1: Clarify what you are preventing and for whom.
Step 2: Identify protective factors to generate positive outcomes.
Step 3: Create a logic model or theory of change.
Step 4: Evaluate your outcomes.

Specific resources

  • Violence against Women – Breaking the pattern: Practitioner’s Guide and Report

    This guide is to help groups, services and campaigners measure the impact of their work that challenges and changes attitudes and behaviours to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG)

  • Violence against Women – Breaking the pattern: Report

    This report tells you about the background to an accompanying project, key learning points and information about setting outcomes and measuring prevention work. The main Practitioner’s Guide can be found

  • Measuring what matters Framework

    Measuring what matters framework is an evaluation framework to support community safety practitioners delivering activities to prevent unintentional harm or injury. This framework’ helps to shift the balance from measuring

  • Threading the Needle – Layers of support

    This pictorial illustration of ‘the layers of support in our society’ was developed during the Threading the Needle work in Fife.  It suggests society could be depicted as being made

  • Preventing Homelessness

    In response to the Scottish Government’s homelessness action plan, The National Lottery Community Fund made a strategic decision to fund a small number of sizeable projects with a focus on preventing homelessness in Glasgow and Edinburgh. This report is one of a series that came out of this programme.

  • Reversing the Trend

    ‘Reversing the trend’ is a joint project, funded by Scottish Government, involving Evaluation Support Scotland, the Partnership Drugs Initiative (previously known as the ‘Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland Partnership Drugs Initiative’) and six

Thematic Programme

Tackling health inequalities: Demonstrating third sector impact

This programme aims to support third sector organisations to better understand and show their impact on health inequalities

Case Studies

  • Measuring what matters Case Study: RoSPA

    This case study from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) is about how they used the framework to help evaluate the impact of their water safety workshops with partners.

  • Recognising our rich tapestry: COPE Scotland case study

    COPE Scotland have used “Recognising our rich tapestry: measuring the contribution of third sector organisations to tackling health inequalities” to explain and prove how their self-management support service contributes to tackling health inequalities.

  • Recognising our rich tapestry: Befrienders Skye and Lochalsh case study

    Befrienders Skye and Lochalsh have used “Recognising our rich tapestry: measuring the contribution of third sector organisations to tackling health inequalities” to explain and prove how their service contributes to tackling health inequalities.

  • Recognising our rich tapestry: Saheliya case study

    Saheliya have used “Recognising our rich tapestry: measuring the contribution of third sector organisations to tackling health inequalities” to explain and prove how their service contributes to tackling health inequalities.

  • Recognising our rich tapestry: Tasting Change case study

    Tasting Change have used “Recognising our rich tapestry: measuring the contribution of third sector organisations to tackling health inequalities” to explain and prove how their cooking groups programme contributes to tackling health inequalities.

  • SIT? Edinburgh Leisure Steady Steps Case Study

    In this case study Edinburgh Leisure Steady Steps focuses on a specialised intervention to engage participants who are rehabilitating from a fall or experiencing poor balance. This document looks at