Evaluating a service

What is monitoring and evaluation?

Monitoring helps you keep track of and account for the activities your service undertakes. This includes activities you run for your service users, and activities you carry out for the organisation, such as recruiting staff.

Evaluating uses information gathered from your monitoring and combines it with other information to judge how well your service is being provided, the impact it is having and its value. Different aspects of a service can be evaluated, including

  • processes and activities (eg are we providing our service fairly to children from different backgrounds?)
  • satisfaction of people using the service (eg how happy are young people with their experience of coming to the service?)
  • outcomes (eg what changes have we helped bring about for the families we work with?)
  • cost-effectiveness (eg is our service providing value for money?)

Evaluating outcomes

Evaluating the difference your service makes is key to

  • making the case to supporters and funders
  • giving families the information they need to make a decision about whether to access your service
  • reflecting on and improving your practice.

CBN is involved in a major project helping services to evaluate themselves more effectively. This presentation shows why this project was needed, and how we started to go about it.

Identifying your outcomes

Understanding exactly what you are trying to do is a crucial first step in demonstrating the difference you are making. The CBN Outcomes Framework [pdf 2.2MB] shows the outcomes that child bereavement services across the UK are trying to bring about. It draws together the views of children, young people, parents, carers, practitioners and managers of services and key academics in the field.

Child Bereavement Service Questionnaires

CBN has developed a set of questionnaires that can be used with children and their parent or carer before and after they take part in a service. The questionnaires are designed to measure changes identified as important in the CBN Outcomes Framework. CBN members are licensed to use the questionnaires for free as part of their annual membership. Please contact us for more information.

Serious Illness in the Family Service Questionnaires

Our report Preparing the Way (2018) reviews methods and tools for assessing children's needs and evaluating support when someone in the family is seriously ill.

We have used our findings to develop a set of evaluation tools for services who are supporting children before the death of someone close to them. Please contact us for more information.

More help

Further suggestions on evaluating your service, including monitoring and gathering feedback as well as measuring outcomes, is available in the free member resource A guide to developing good practice in child bereavement services.