The challenges to effective outcome evaluation of a national, multi-agency initiative: The experience of Sure Start

ABSTRACT

This article uses the example of Sure Start, a national initiative introduced by the UK Government in the late 1990s, as a case study to explore the reasons why large-scale, complex, national initiatives often fail to adequately evidence the impact of their work. The authors explore a range of structural, cultural, methodological and practical factors that have acted to inhibit effective evaluation of the impacts of Sure Start. They argue that the potential exists for more effective and efficient evaluation of the outcomes of complex community initiatives such as Sure Start, if factors such as those outlined within the article are adequately addressed. This article provides important learning for those funding, commissioning and delivering complex community initiatives.

SOURCE: Nigel Lloyd and Louise Harrington, “The challenges to effective outcome evaluation of a national, multi-agency initiative: The experience of Sure Start”, Evaluation January 2012 vol. 18 no. 1 93-109

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