What does a grassroots evaluation mean to Black Box?
Here at Black Box, we only evaluate projects that are within our area of speciality, therefore we understand the project from the ground up. We have specific expertise in the areas that we are evaluating, enabling us to go into different localities with a vast understanding of the context and wider community ensuring we do not miss any nuances.
This also allows us to provide support, research and feedback that will ensure the project delivers exactly what it sets out to do in the most effective and streamlined manner. Our evaluation service is the collection of empirical research and analysis on modern slavery and youth justice programmes or initiatives, to make educated opinions on the effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness of the project.
The types of evaluation that Black Box performs:
At Black Box, we can perform any kind of evaluation, however our most common methods include the following:
- Formative evaluation: This is a valuable process that helps us improve projects or programmes. It’s like a continuous check-up that allows us to gather feedback, find out what is being done well, and identify areas for improvement. Through this process, we collect data, listen to the thoughts and opinions of everyone involved and carefully analyse the results. Then, we create action plans to enhance the projects and make them more effective. It’s an ongoing cycle of learning, adapting and refining, which ultimately helps achieve the greatest impact and success.
- Impact evaluation: Our goal is to assess how well a project is working and make sure that it is making a positive difference. We collect data before and after the project to see if there are any changes once it’s finished. This helps us understand what’s working and what can be improved, so that the project can be enhanced and enjoy continued success.
- Process/implementation evaluation: This method assesses whether projects are being carried in accordance with the principles and procedures outlined in the project plan. To achieve this, we conduct evaluations that involve reviewing how the project is being delivered, observing workshops and sessions and interviewing staff members. By close examination, we ensure that projects are being executed effectively and in line with their objectives.
- Case studies: We place great importance on conducting detailed analyses of individual cases to gain valuable insights into the progress and experiences of the subjects within the project. This approach provides us with rich qualitative data that helps us understand the effectiveness of a project. By examining individual cases closely, we can gather valuable information that contributes to the overall evaluation. These insights help us make informed decisions and improvements to ensure projects have a positive impact.
An evaluation we are currently working on:
Since 2022, we have been working alongside to improve the efficiency of their Get Connected programme. Project Connect was founded in 2021 with the aim of creating meaningful connections to help develop strategy, vision and mission through harnessing the power of people within the statutory and third sector. This is enabled through the Get Connected programme, which includes workshops that run over a period of six-to-nine months via five interactive full-day sessions.
Get Connected seeks to encourage collaboration between organisations in a given local area, in this case Hemlington, Middlesbrough. Collaboration achieved between multi-agency partnerships is fundamental to the successful implementation of a public health approach.
Aimed at tackling youth violence within Hemlington, Get Connected encourages increased knowledge exchange, resource sharing, understanding and awareness of the issues felt by all organisations within the local community, to aid the execution of a shared action plan whose outcomes seek to tackle the concerns that are felt by all, together.
Our process evaluation of Get Connected incorporates a mixed methods approach and operates over the course of the programme’s delivery and beyond. The methods include observations of each session, semi-structured interviews and surveys conducted with participants of Get Connected. We employ a social network analysis as an objective measure of interactions and working relationships between Hemlington-based organisations and professionals. Through this, we will understand what works and why, in addition to how Get Connected can be improved to enhance future iterations and the successful delivery of Get Connected across the UK.