School of Health and Social Care

Evaluation Service for Health and Social Care 

Improving lives locally, nationally and internationally

We can help you evaluate and improve services to your users, their carers and employees.

Here at the University of Essex we are dedicated to excellence in research and evaluation of interventions, programmes, and initiatives in the health and social landscape.

We work in partnership with health, social care and voluntary sector organisations across the East of England region, nationally and internationally.

Our areas of expertise include project evaluation and primary research in health services research, public health policy, health psychology, clinical psychology, medical sociology, exercise science, physical activity, social work, and adult and mental health nursing at schools and workplaces.

Our services

With the vast range of expertise at the university we are able to provide you with full research design, advice and consultancy, including undertaking project and service evaluations.

We offer a variety of methodologies including face to face interviewing, focus groups, surveys and data collection, analysis of routine clinical data (including clinically significant change analyses) and health economic evaluations.

We will design the evaluation collaboratively with you, advise on timescales, identify any required specialist expertise, establish a project team, project manage the evaluation, collect data or support in-house data collection; analyse the resultant quantitative and qualitative data and produce interim and final reports, including case studies where appropriate.

Our expertise

We have a first-rate research profile and our expertise includes the application of psychology and sociology to real-world issues, participatory research and evidence-based practice. We draw upon the wide range of expertise within in the School of Health and Social Care as well as health researchers in other university departments including the Essex Business School, Economics Department, School of Sports Rehabilitation and Exercise Science and Mathematical Sciences.

Our staff include academics and clinicians with quantitative and qualitative expertise in a range of health and care related research areas including: chronic illness; gerontology; health and clinical psychology; health risks; learning difficulties; management; mental health; nursing; oral health; occupational therapy; physiotherapy; pharmacy; medical sociology; social exclusion; social policy; social work speech and language therapy; sports science; and substance abuse.

Ongoing projects

Evaluation of Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board health inequality projects

Project aims: To evaluate a series of interventions commissioned by the MSE-ICB with the aim to reduce regional health inequalities (such as befriending, blood pressure, social prescribing, green prescribing) and improving access to services. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods ad hoc evaluation tools are used to provide the evidence needed for scaling-up services and future investments.

A Better Start Southend Evaluation

A Better Start Southend: supporting local people to develop the services they need

As part of Southend Unitary Authority’s review of the children’s centre offer within its area, A Better Start Southend commissioned the Evaluation Service to undertake work to:

  1. Identify and review key research, reports and literature relating to children’s centre services or similar provisions in the UK and internationally.
  2. Carry out a desk review of publications plus interviews with key service managers/commissioners in six local authority areas which have reviewed, reorganised or re-provided children’s centre services.

Available here are the overview report summarising the findings from both of these strands plus the full report covering the first strand (literature search).

The full report on the second strand is available to academics, public sector and third sector staff, on request from

Past projects

Evaluation of Ask Teddi parenting information app

Thurrock Council Public Health commissioned an independent evaluation of the Ask Teddi app that offers advice for parents and carers of children under 5 years-old in Thurrock. We undertook the qualitative evaluation of Ask Teddi while Swansea University undertook the quantitative evaluation elements.

A copy of the full report, together with an infographic summary, can be found on the Thurrock Council website.

Evaluating recurrent care services in England

Since 2015, we have been undertaking evaluations for a number of services that are working to empower birth mothers involved in repeat care proceedings.

This has led onto a 'change project' on recurrent care during 2018 and 2019, led by Research in Practice in partnership with colleagues in Essex and Lancaster Universities, working with 13 local authorities to assist them in developing new services in this field.

Read more about the first recurrent care projects evaluated, including the research report.

Download the report (.docx) for an evaluation of the Stockport Comma Service (in May 2020).

Download the report (.docx) for an evaluation of the Salford Strengthening Families Service (in June 2020).

Edge of Care Service for Adolescents in a London Borough

We evaluated an intensive therapeutic support for adolescents at risk of being taken into care.

The service works with families where a child is on the edge of care and child care proceedings are likely/imminent, or where a child has recently been taken into care and support could enable them to return safely to their family home.

Its aim is to give these complex families an opportunity to make positive changes through a dedicated worker for at least six months to avoid a child going into care.

Pathways for patients with dementia

Alzheimer’s Research UK commissioned us for qualitative research looking at the specific pressures on acute services that cover the provision of care for people living with dementia.

The aim was to assist ARUK with developing policies relating to; i) preparing the healthcare system for future treatments and ii) understanding the impact of co-morbidity dementia patients on acute services.

The research was carried out in five sample Clinical Commissioning Group areas in England that were identified as having better than average outcomes, based on Hospital Episode Statistics data. It identified good practice in hospital admission/discharge pathways for patients living with dementia.

Eastern Academic Health Science Network self-care pilots

We evaluated two self-care projects funded by Eastern Academic Health Science Network:

  1. The Just One Norfolk website, developed to provide support to parents of children aged 0 to 19. Support can be provided in the following ways: e-prescriptions (e.g. videos/blogs; virtual support (webchat, text messaging via “Parent Line”); face to face support (e.g. assessing developmental progress); plus a range of self-care resources and quizzes to support parents. Referrals to other services can be made if appropriate.
  2. Psychoeducational workshops run by Cambridgeshire Hearing Help for people who have suspected or newly diagnosed hearing loss, to help with their self-management of this condition. Each workshop provided education on hearing and the impact of hearing loss, with signposting to resources available, peer support and group therapy. The project encouraged partners, or friends/ family members to come with the person with a hearing loss to the workshop. In addition, there is an online version of the workshop which people can opt to do instead of the face to face workshops.

An overview report summarises the learning from the two projects, based on qualitative input obtained from members of the project steering groups and input from the project funding lead organisation (Eastern AHSN).

Designing a system-wide occupational and employment support system in Essex for people with mental illness and learning disabilities

Essex County Council wanted to develop a new approach to support people with mental illness and learning disabilities currently receiving adult social care support moving into meaningful occupation (ideally paid employment).

In 2018 we carried out a systematic literature review, a survey of relevant local conditions within Essex and stakeholder engagement via focus groups and interviews to explore perceived benefits, barriers and facilitators and to enhance our understanding of local conditions, followed by a stakeholder engagement event to co-produce a system-wide set of recommendations.

Read the report.

Evaluation of the Norfolk Perinatal Infant Mental Health Service (PIMHS)

Carried out Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust and Norfolk County Council.

In 2016, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers evaluated a pilot service in the East of England offering a therapeutically led attachment-based intervention for families on the edge of care where there were significant safeguarding concerns alongside attachment problems in the parent/infant relationship and an identified parental mental health problem. The evaluation examined psychological and safeguarding outcomes and explored practitioner perspectives.

This work was published in the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law (Volume 40, 2018 - Issue 3)

Co-produced research with Healthwatch Essex: Lived experience of self-care in mental health

The lived experience of self-care in mental health in Essex (Healthwatch Data)

This joint University of Essex and Healthwatch Essex research project explored how people in Essex understand self-care in mental health and how primary care services support them in practicing self-care.

Three group discussions were held in different locations in Essex during January 2017 to gain an in-depth understanding of people’s views on self-care in mental health and how primary care mental health services support them in practicing self-care.

Evaluation of Virtual Dementia Tour with Princess Alexandra Hospital

Carried out for Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust.

This project evaluated the impact of the Virtual Dementia Tour ® (VDT ®) training on the understanding and knowledge of staff that provide care or come into contact with people with dementia in the acute hospital setting.

The design of the study was primarily qualitative, collecting delegate’s views of the VDT ® via questionnaires, a focus group or a telephone interview.

NHS England - Investing in Specialised Services: Analysis of Responses to an NHS England National Consultation

In 2015 NHS England published a national consultation which described the proposed principles and processes by which NHS England will make future decisions on investment in specialised services. The consultation sought views on the proposed principles, process and their likely impact on reducing inequalities.

Our Evaluation Service analysed these responses as part of a national consultation and presented the findings in a report for NHS England.

Care Closer to Home/Urgent Care: Analysis of Responses to the North Essex CCG consultation

North Essex Clinical Commissioning Group consulted on the Care Closer to Home and Urgent Care proposals between December 2014 and February 2015.

Data was collected on the views of the public using an online survey. The Evaluation Service analysed the data collected from this project and provided produced a report based upon the findings.

Read the report.

Evaluation of Wellbeing Hubs in Tendring and Colchester schools

The Tendring and Colchester Wellbeing Hubs project is a pilot project to replicate the Great Bentley Wellbeing Hub innovation in schools. Wellbeing Hubs aim to improve children’s mental health and wellbeing through a prevention and early intervention approach based within schools.

The Wellbeing Hub programme is a series of structured sessions, titled I Am ME, of small groups of pupils referred into the scheme by teachers in discussion with parents. Evaluation of the pilot scheme included whole school surveys to assess general wellbeing and mental health of the pupils before and after the introduction of the Wellbeing Hubs. The evaluation was completed in 2023 and included a final evaluation report for the whole programme as well as individual reports for schools with targeted recommendations to improve delivery of the programme in the relevant school context.

Evaluating the impact of the Suffolk & North East Essex Atrial Fibrillation Remote Monitoring Pilot

Project aims: To evaluate the Suffolk & North East Essex Atrial Fibrillation Remote Monitoring Pilot using a mixed method approach to assess the outcomes of the pilot and gain insights into how the process has worked for patients and professionals.

Evaluation of Mid & South Essex Integrated Care Board BP@HOME Scheme

Project aims: To provide an overview of the BP@Home Programme and understand the benefit of blood pressure monitoring at home for user and health system.

Health and Social Care Students with skeleton
Our people

Academic, honorary, professional services staff and research students in the School of Health and Social Care.

Our people


How soon should we contact the Health and Social Care Evaluation Service?

We would like to hear from you as early as possible to discuss your requirements and advise you on how to plan your research or evaluation.

For example, if you are developing a new service which will need an evaluation component, get in touch with us as soon as you begin to plan the service as it helps to incorporate evaluation into service design from the beginning.

If you are planning a stakeholder consultation and want us to analyse the data, we can advise you early on how to design the consultation as this can impact on what it is possible to analyse.

We also understand evaluation and analysis can be left to the last minute sometimes and it may still be possible for us to help in these situations. So, while it is best to contact us as early as possible, we will also try to assist with your requirements whatever stage of development you are at.

Will we need ethics approval?

Ethics approval for research and evaluation in health and social care settings can be complex to navigate and whether or not your project needs ethical approval will depend on a number of different factors.

We can advise you on this and where approvals are required we can complete applications for you and guide you through the process. This is something we would discuss with you from the outset.

How quickly can you complete a project?

All projects vary in terms of timelines and this will depend on the nature and scale of the research or evaluation required. If you have a very short deadline for the project you need completed, we will discuss with you from the outset what is possible within the timescale.

For all projects, we will discuss your requirements with you and will set out a proposed timeline and deliverables that we would be working to.

How much will it cost?

Projects vary significantly in terms of costs. We would encourage you to make contact with us as soon as possible so we can discuss what is possible within your budget and timeline.

How will data be managed?

In some projects we collect data for you; in other projects you collect data and provide it to us for analysis. There will be different ethical and data protection arrangements in place for these different types of project.

We have a range of research governance and data protection practices in place to cover a wide range of data uses and where necessary we will help to set up a data sharing arrangement with your organisation. We will discuss this with you early on and establish what will be required to put in place to cover data security.

Get in touch
If you are interested in us providing you with one of our services, email us. With our range of specialisms and our experience, we are always happy to discuss your plans and how we can help.
Health and Care Evaluation Service, School of Health and Social Care, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ