Workforce development and effective evaluation of projects
The success of a project or programme is typically determined in relation to outputs. However, there is a commitment among UK public services to spending public funds efficiently and on activities that provide the greatest benefit to society. Skills for Health recognised the need for a tool to manage the complex process of evaluating project benefits. An integrated evaluation framework was developed to help practitioners identify, describe, measure and evaluate the benefits of workforce development projects. Practitioners tested the framework on projects within three NHS trusts and provided valuable feedback to support its development. The prospective approach taken to identify benefits and collect baseline data to support evaluation was positively received and the clarity and completeness of the framework, as well as the relevance of the questions, were commended. Users reported that the framework was difficult to complete; an online version could be developed, which might help to improve usability. Effective implementation of this approach will depend on the quality and usability of the framework, the willingness of organisations to implement it, and the presence or establishment of an effective change management culture.