What is Evaluation?
Picture courtesy of Road Safety GB.
Road safety education, training and publicity (ETP) is a fundamental part of Britain’s efforts to improve the safety of road users. It is, therefore, important that good practice in the delivery of road safety ETP is identified through evaluation and then promoted. Evaluation is essential to establish whether interventions are effective at improving road user safety and can contribute towards the goal of reducing death and injury on our roads.
Evaluation is also key to developing evidence informed practice, and identifying, in advance, the type of interventions that are most likely to be effective.
Evaluation can demonstrate the success (or not) of an intervention, by identifying:
- If a programme is effective
- Why it is effective or ineffective
- What can be learned from the successes and mistakes that have occurred
Evaluation can help to inform policy decisions, such as:
- Is the intervention an efficient use of resources?
- Should the funding for it continue?
- Should it be repeated?
Evaluation can also be used during the development of an intervention to identify:
- The strengths and weaknesses of a programme
- Subsequent improvements that can be made
- Whether the materials or method of delivery are appropriate.
Evaluation also enables information to be shared with others about the intervention and its effectiveness, to:
- Highlight which programmes are effective at improving road safety, for whom, and in what circumstances
- Provide evidence for use in injury prevention
- Offer the people taking part in the programme a chance to comment on the programme and share their experiences.
Integrating Evaluation into Intervention Planning
It is a good idea to plan evaluation into the intervention design so that it is an ongoing process. This gives a clearer idea about the aims and objectives of the intervention itself and enables procedures to be put in place for the collection of data for the evaluation (e.g. before and after measures, number of schools taking part, etc). It also allows the timetable for the evaluation to be planned.
It is best practice to build the cost of an evaluation into the design of a programme. When applying for funding remember to include the cost of an evaluation in your proposal. In general, between 5% to 10% of the total intervention costs (including staff time) should be budgeted for evaluation.