In order to provide convincing evidence that the Big Lottery Fund’s investment has made a difference the evaluation team are gathering data from six additional areas not receiving funding from the Fulfilling Lives: Supporting people with multiple needs initiative. These areas form the ‘counterfactual’ group. We picked these areas because they are broadly similar to the 12 funded areas. The counterfactual areas provide a comparison against which we can measure the impact the funding has had. The six areas are: Bolton, Bournemouth, Brent, Enfield, Sheffield, Southend-on-Sea.

The data collected from service users in these areas will allow the National Evaluation team to build an evidence base of what works for people with multiple needs that can be used to influence change. The focus is not on pointing out shortcomings in counterfactual organisation’s services, but in demonstrating the impact of investing in and reconfiguring services, and enabling effective practice to be spread.

Benefits of taking part in the counterfactual include:

For organisations

  • Improved monitoring and evaluation of services in order to demonstrate outcomes and impact, lobby for change and bid for funding.
  • Opportunity to monitor service users over time using tools that capture change and progress.
  • Membership of a national network of providers sharing insight, learning and best practice.

For service users

  • Help agencies to improve their offer to other service users.
  • Influence how services are designed and commissioned.
  • Opportunity to network with other service users across England and potential to get involved as a researcher.

We provide participating organisations with support from experienced researchers and all they need to collect the data. This includes:

  • Templates, tools and good practice guides to help with collecting and analysing data.
  • Free training for frontline staff in using the Homelessness Outcome Star™ to track service user progress.
  • One Homelessness Outcome Star licence a year.
  • Priority places at seminars and workshops where we will share findings and learning from the evaluation.

We also make a small financial contribution to organisations as a thank you for taking part.

If you work for an organisation that engages individuals with multiple needs in any of the above areas and would be interested in joining the evaluation, please contact Sarah.Robinson@cfe.org.uk for an informal discussion.