• independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

  • independent research and evaluation

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Post-19 education provision for young people with complex learning difficulties living in Wales (2012-13)

We led a consortium, comprising Cardiff University, the University of Bristol and Carol Robinson Consulting, to undertake research to identify levels of need and current provision and to assess how unmet need could be provided for. The research was commissioned by the Welsh Government to inform the development of future arrangements for post-16 additional learning needs in schools and further education. It involved a mixture of desk based analysis, focus groups and interviews young people with complex learning difficulties, family members and professionals working in local authorities, special schools, FE colleges and independent specialist colleges.

The full report, summary report and easy read summary were published by the Welsh Government in May 2013.

Full Report

Summary Report

Easy Read Summary

Employment outcomes for young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (2013-14)

The Welsh Government commissioned us to undertake this research, in partnership with the Universities of Cardiff and Bristol, to inform the development of the ASD Strategic Action Plan for Wales and in response to concerns about post-education employment outcomes of young people.  The research included interviews with 26 young people with ASD and their families to understand more about the lived experience of securing, or trying to secure employment after leaving formal education, the nature of support received and the difference this made to any employment outcomes achieved.  There was also an online survey and follow-up interviews with mainstream, pan-disability and ASD-specific employment support services in Wales, to understand the extent to which they could address the key barriers to employment for young people with ASD.

Outputs include the full report, a summary report, an easy read summary and a separate evidence review.

Full Report

Summary Report

Easy Read Summary

Evidence Review

ESRC Longitudinal Studies Review 2017

The ESRC Longitudinal Studies Review 2017 is exploring the current and future scientific and policy-relevant need for longitudinal research resources. The review is being undertaken by a small, independent, international panel, chaired by Professor Pamela Davis-Kean, University of Michigan and will report to ESRC Council early in 2018. We were asked to support the work of the review panel by analysing data from the initial online consultation survey launched in autumn 2016.

This consultation sought input broadly, resulting in 637 completed responses from UK (83.4%) and international (16.6%) respondents. Respondents were predominantly from the academic sector (80%) as well as government, civil society and business sectors (20%).

We wrote an initial report of the main findings of the consultation which was published by ESRC in December 2016.

We were then commissioned to conduct further analysis to examine a number of key themes from the consultation in more detail.  This work resulted in ten short briefing papers that were published by ESRC in May 2017.


ESRC Longitudinal Studies Review 2017: further analysis of responses to the consultation

Paper 1: Key areas of scientific and methodological interest to policy makers

Paper 2: The policy relevance of longitudinal studies – contributions and barriers

Paper 3: The capacity and infrastructure for longitudinal research

Paper 4: Use and accessibility of longitudinal resources

Paper 5: International comparisons and opportunities

Paper 6: What did respondents say about birth cohort studies

Paper 7: Data linkage

Paper 8: New forms of data collection

Paper 9: Comparability and harmonisation

Paper 10: Representativeness and study design

ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a five-year £1.5 billion funding stream, announced as part of the Government’s 2015 spending review. It forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance commitment, to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries. The GCRF operates across a number of UK delivery partners, including the ESRC which was allocated £35 million over the period of its Delivery Plan 2016-20.

We were commissioned by ESRC in January 2017 to summarise the key findings of the Fund’s initial Call for Evidence conducted by RCUK, and, through an analysis of international donor websites and key strategic documents, to set these findings within the wider national and international funding context. This internal report was commissioned to help inform ESRC’s strategic position as a key delivery partner for the GCRF.

Evaluation of the EU Joint Programming Initiative on demographic change ‘More Years Better Lives’ for the ESRC (2015)

The Joint Programming Initiative ‘More Years Better Lives: The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change’ (JPI-MYBL) was established in 2010. Its purpose is to foster collaboration and coordination between European and national research programmes related to demographic change. ‘Joint Programming’ is a European approach to pooling national resources to help tackle common challenges. EU Member States commit to Joint Programming initiatives to implement strategic research agendas. In its role as a key JPI partner, the ESRC commissioned us to undertake an external evaluation to examine the progress of MYBL towards its aims during its first 30 months. The evaluation involved documentary analysis of JPI outcomes and qualitative interviews with JPI members representing 12 counties.

Click here to access the final report and summary.

Scoping work to explore the implementation of ‘Independent Support’ within the context of Supportive Parents’ current Parent Partnership Service (2014)

In 2014 we were commissioned by the Bristol-based charity Supportive Parents to explore the implementation of ‘Independent Support’, a new government initiative under the Children and Families Act. The work involved online survey work with disabled children and parents, face-to-face interviews with senior policy makers, focus groups with families of disabled children, documentary review and analysis, data analysis and reporting.

The final report was published in June 2014 on Supportive Parents’ website.

Evaluation of WorkFit Wales (2014-17)

In partnership with The South West Employment Institute, we are currently undertaking this evaluation of the Big Lottery-funded ‘WorkFit Wales’ project. The project is due to complete in July 2017 and is looking at the impact of individualised support on people’s lives, both socially and in terms of employment opportunities and access to paid work. The research includes online survey work, face-to-face and telephone interviews with families, young people with Down’s syndrome, employers and co-workers, data analysis and reporting.

Festival of Social Science

The Festival of Social Science is a week-long celebration of social science research and takes place every November across the UK. It is open to all, and includes public debates, conferences, workshops, seminars, films, exhibitions and much more. Since 2014, we have conducted four separate evaluations for the Festival of Social Science team at ESRC, involving online survey work, telephone interviews with academics and event organisers, data analysis and reporting.

Assessments of the impact and outcomes of the 2012 Festival and the 2013 Festival

A process evaluation of the 2015 Festival and the 2016 Festival

Evaluation of the Being Human Festival of the Humanities (2014)

Being Human is led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The first Being Human festival took place in November 2014 and we were commissioned to evaluate it using data already collected by the festival curator and his team.

The evaluation report, including recommendations, was published in May 2015 and can be found here.

Review of the Public Engagement with Research Catalyst programme (2016)

RCUK commissioned us to undertake an end-of-programme review, based on annual reports from the eight universities involved as Catalysts and their own project evaluation data. Our report and summary provide a synthesis of the approaches and achievements of the PER Catalyst programme overall and were published on RCUK’s website in October 2016.

Full Report


School-University Partnerships Initiative (SUPI) programme evaluation (2016-17)

SUPI is a four-year initiative to create mechanisms for universities to work in partnership with schools and colleges and to support researchers to engage directly with students about research. We are evaluating the success, challenges and impact of the programme through analysis of all project documentation and interviews with university staff, school/college staff and students. The final report should be available in early 2018.

Consultancy for Mind The Gap Theatre Company (2014)

Mind the Gap commissioned Ruth to work with Matt Hargrave from Northumbria University to create an easy-read version of his PhD research on theatre and learning disability. Matt’s book was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015 and the easy-read summary is part of the ‘back matter’ which can be accessed in full here.

Mapping the impact of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy service (2011)

Whilst employed by the University of Bristol, Ruth and colleagues were commissioned by the Social Care Institute of Excellence and the Department of Health to undertake an impact evaluation of the IMCA service in England. The research focussed on casework undertaken between 2009 and 2010 and collected data via online survey and semi-structured interviews. The report is free to download here.


Review and synthesis of the implementation of policies supporting independent living for disabled people with Europe (2009)

Whilst working at the University of Bristol, Ruth and colleagues were commissioned by the European Commission’s ANED group to undertake a review of the progress within EU member states on policies to support independent living. ANED (the Academic Network of European Disability experts) supports pan-European policy development in collaboration with the EC’s Disability Unit. Data was collected via questionnaires to 28 countries and the final report and executive summary are published here.