Emma Smith explains why we need to take into account the clinical significance of the findings from service evaluations
One thing I love about my job as an evaluator at the NSPCC is letting practitioners know when a new service we’ve developed to support children and families has been successful. There’s nothing better than being able to tell the practitioners who have worked so hard delivering the programme, that the findings of the evaluation are positive and that the programme makes a real difference to children’s lives. Usually everyone is delighted to hear about the success.
So I was really surprised when, a few years ago, a group of practitioners were sceptical about the positive evidence I showed them for their service. At first I wasn’t sure why the team didn’t agree that the evidence suggested the programme was a success, but a while later I carried out an analysis looking at the clinical significance of our findings, which revealed their concerns were justified. What I learnt will influence all my future evaluations.