Evaluation of the Greener Living Fund

Client:
Defra
Start date:
February 2009
Completed:
June 2011

Brook Lyndhurst was appointed to evaluate the performance of Defra’s Greener Living Fund (GLF). The fund, launched in November 2008, provided over £6 million in grants to eight delivery partners from the third sector. These delivery partners ran projects to encourage pro-environmental behaviour change among their target audiences, focusing on Defra’s 12 headline behaviour goals. Brook Lyndhurst, together with independent consultant Kathryn Rathouse, were tasked with evaluating the overall impacts and success of the fund. 

Objectives
This project aimed to identify:

  • The overall effectiveness of the Greener Living Fund in helping individuals and communities to lead more sustainable lifestyles;
  • The impact of the individual projects in terms of attitude and behaviour change among their target audiences;
  • The factors that are critical to the projects’ success;
  • Barriers encountered by the projects; and
  • The potential for scaling up and replicating the projects on a wider scale.

Methodology
The first stage of the project involved the development of an evaluation framework - essentially a set of criteria against which the projects’ performance will be assessed. In order to overcome difficulties experienced on previous funds, where comparing data from different projects has proven challenging, a scoring mechanism was developed to quantify project successes, allowing for comparisons between different approaches as well as providing an overall picture of the fund’s impact.

The formal evaluation by Brook Lyndhurst was complemented by a peer support system, whereby each of the delivery partners was visited by another and evaluated using the same scoring mechanism used by the evaluation team. The aim of this process was to encourage projects to share and learn from each other’s evaluation experiences, and to provide the evaluation team with a ‘second opinion’ or cross-check.

To assist the projects in gathering evidence of the impacts of their activities, an evaluation handbook was compiled and provided to shortlisted projects to give guidance on good practice in monitoring and evaluation. A bank of standard questions was also developed for use by the delivery partners in their baseline and follow-up surveys, and ensured that data obtained was more comparable - both across the projects and from the fund to the wider population. Reporting templates were also provided to the projects to ensure that the evaluation team received data in a consistent and comparable format.

In addition, the shortlisted projects received tailored advice from Kathryn Rathouse on developing their evaluation plans, and the selected delivery partners received support and advice via telephone and in person while implementing and reporting on their evaluation work. Two workshops were organised during the course of the project to provide the delivery partners with opportunities to discuss their work and reflect on the successes and barriers. Finally, towards the end of the two years, a refresher workshop was organised to review the evaluation requirements.

Brook Lyndhurst reported to Defra throughout the course of the two years of the GLF on the progress of the projects. We also provided analysis of the baseline data gathered by the delivery partners, an interim report on progress at the end of the first year of the project, and a final report and presentation.

 

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