Economic evaluation of complex social initiatives; feasible but not practical at present

Pennington, Mark, Gray, Joanne, Donaldson, Cam and Dickinson, Heather (2014) Economic evaluation of complex social initiatives; feasible but not practical at present. Social & Public Policy Review, 8 (1). pp. 5-20. ISSN 1752-704X

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Decision makers increasingly request evidence on the cost-effectiveness of social initiatives to inform roll-out and development. In practice, economic evaluation is rarely applied to social initiatives. Whilst the innate complexity of social initiatives generates challenges for economic evaluation, the difficulty is often compounded by the way in which initiatives are piloted. We examine the difficulties in undertaking economic evaluation of complex social initiatives using the recent evaluation of Budget-holding Lead Professionals, an initiative to enhance personalisation of services to children with additional needs, as a case study. We illustrate how the lack of a robust study design and the limitations of local data management structures hampered the evaluation and limited the resulting findings. We then highlight changes to the way in which complex social initiatives are piloted which would allow economic evaluation to play a greater role in their evaluation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Nursing, Midwifery and Health
Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
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Depositing User: Julie Blackwell
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2012 14:39
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 14:37

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