New Client; Surrey County Council

The Evaluator is delighted to be working with a new client, Surrey County Council. We’re working on an innovative placemaking project being delivered between a partnership lead jointly by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and Surrey County Council to put the community at the heart of placemaking.

We are following and measuring the process and creating a capacity building report, a toolkit for others wanting to do placemaking in their locality and an animated case study to put the story of this work back into the mouths of the people taking part.


New Client; Attitude is Everything

We are delighted to be working with a new client, Attitude is Everything, evaluating Beyond the Music. Beyond the Music is an ambitious programme, funded by Reaching Communities from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to encourage more Deaf and disabled people to work in the music industry.

Here is an extract from the Attitude is Everything website. You can see the website directly by clicking here. 

“Attitude is Everything is pleased to announce Beyond the Music, a new three-year programme that aims to boost employment opportunities for Deaf and disabled people in the commercial music sector.

Findings from Arts Council England show just 4% of staff at National Portfolio Organisations, and just 1.8% of staff at music industry organisations, consider themselves to be disabled. This is a significant disparity from the UK’s general population, where 19% of working adults are considered disabled under the Equality Act.

Such a disconnect may be the result of barriers and discrimination, but our own research suggests that many Deaf and disabled people in the industry may also lack confidence to make their impairment known. Last year we revealed that that 70% of disabled musicians hid details of their impairment for fear of losing opportunities, and that two-thirds had compromised their health to perform in inaccessible conditions.

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, Beyond The Music will look to explore these issues and employment gaps, while taking a two-pronged approach to identify solutions: supporting Deaf and disabled people to gain the necessary skills, experience, support and contacts they require to work or volunteer in the music industry, while providing training, resources and guidance to help music businesses build a truly inclusive work environment.

The project launches with a new survey, open to any Deaf or disabled person who works or is aspiring to work in the industry. Their responses will play a key part in shaping the programme over the next three years.

Over that period, we are aiming to create:

  1. A Beyond The Music Network – a place for Deaf and disabled people working or seeking to work in the industry to meet, network, share ideas and find support around navigating the industry.
  2. Structured opportunities for Deaf and disabled people to develop their skills through training, mentoring, shadowing and skilled employment and volunteering opportunities.
  3. Accessible Creative Environments training – a new training course tailored to support companies within in the industry to create a truly inclusive workplace culture.
  4. An Accessible Employment and Volunteering Toolkit
  5. A Future Leaders programme – a year long skills development programme designed to help talented Deaf and disabled people develop the skills to lead the industry in the future.

Head of Volunteering and Skills Development for Attitude is Everything Paul Hawkins said

“This is a challenging time for everyone in the music business, especially within live events. The industry’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign has highlighted the gravity of the situation, but, as we plot a pathway back from coronavirus, Attitude is Everything believes it is crucial that Deaf and disabled people have full and equal access to any employment opportunities on offer.”

Beyond The Music will allow us to try and identify why Deaf and disabled workers are so underrepresented in the sector, and to take positive action to implement change. The first step towards that goal is the survey we are launching today. We are enormously grateful to the National Lottery for funding this project, and also for support we’ve received from venues and others in the business. More will be needed on the road ahead as we strive for equality and inclusivity.

A number of music industry organisations are already backing Beyond The Music, with The Barbican, the Brighton Centre, Manchester Arena, the SEC, the South Bank Centre and Norwich Arts Centre all offering expertise to a Venues Advisory Group that will help formulate a strategy around the survey findings. Further support has been confirmed by Sony Music and Youth Music.

Industry umbrella body UK Music have also invited Attitude is Everything to join their Diversity Taskforce to help ensure access for Deaf and disabled people is high on their agenda. UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl said:

“For a number of years UK Music has been a proud supporter of Attitude is Everything’s great work to improve access to music and the music industry for Deaf and disabled people. Beyond The Music is an exciting new initiative that everyone must now get behind. We look forward to working with Attitude is Everything on this and welcoming them to the UK Music Diversity Taskforce.”

Alongside the initiative, we are pleased to announce a new role within the Attitude is Everything team. The Skills Development Manager will lead on our work with Deaf and disabled people aspiring to work in music by helping them to access training, advice and guidance and brokering placements with music industry partners.

To find out more about Beyond the Music and how you can support it, please contact Paul Hawkins via

The Evaluator is looking forward to helping this organisation to measure the impact of it’s work, on individuals and on the music industry too. As part of this project we are looking into concepts including ambition, what holds people back, and how industry can change attitudes over time.

Director’s Blog: Why we are more resilient than we think we are?


My name is Kirsty, the Founder and Director of The Evaluator. Occasionally I write a Director’s blog to include general thoughts and interesting pieces of information that we are currently working on.

Presently, I am working on trying to come up with a solution for measuring how our clients have adapted to Covid-19. It has brought so many changes to our world. As a team, we have been carrying out quite a lot of research with people, everyday wellbeing was something we measured at the start of lockdown, and recently we have been carrying out quite a lot of online research into how organisations have helped their participants during lockdowns of all alerts/levels/tiers. I think we have found the personal view, but are lacking the more professional view, so I want to make sure we work out an easy way to do this and then apply that as widely as possible.

I started with some research, and I think the ultimate skill we are discussing is resilience. The ability to ‘try, try again’. But what is resilience and how can we measure it? We have in the past developed our own resilience scale.

Here is an extract from a blog post first published in 2017:

Resilience is a skill, we know that instinctively but how do you say for sure if someone is more resilient than another? What if they become more resilient? How do you prove it? 

There is no easily comparable tool that many people use, there are a number of resilience scales but these tend to be used in a clinical setting and are not suitable for every project. I have therefore, developed my own resilience scale, which shows what the individual believes to be their own skill-set.

I have based this on the ten ways to be more resilient as defined by Liggy Webb – the United Nations adviser on resilience; author of the book ‘Resilience’ and international keynote speaker on how to be more resilient. The ten skills are; take a journey of self-discovery, optimism, emotional control, change for the better, coping well with conflict, embracing opportunities, looking after yourself, making positive connections, keeping going and having a vision. I have reworked these skills into a scale which participants can rate themselves and also a set of skills that project staff can assess. 

Participants are to answer how often they feel like this, over the last two weeks:

  • I know myself well, and can describe my strengths and weaknesses
  • I cope well with change
  • I cope well with conflict and/ or arguments
  • I feel like I can say yes to opportunities
  • I put myself first, so I can look after others better
  • I have been socialising recently
  • I am able to make plans and stick to those plans
  • I believe that life will improve in the future, I feel optimistic about the future
  • I have coped well with making decisions
  • I feel that I can cope well with stressful situations

Assigning each answer with a number, means we can measure how resilient a person is, at a particular moment in time. We can ask them again, every quarter and track their movements. We can find out what happened to make them more resilient, and what happened in their lives to make them become less resilient. In short, we can show impact numerically. 

We have used the above scale in a number of different evaluations and it has worked well. This year however we need something additional. We have been thinking about what resilience means when it is across a team, or collective, and what it means during a global pandemic. We came across a great article:-

Collective Resilience by The Collective Psychology Project – this has lots of relevance to many of the organisations we are working with. Here are some of the main points:

“There are three different layers to the crisis all playing out simultaneously: a public health emergency, an economic disaster, and a social and cultural crisis”

“22% (of adults) were engaging more with arts during lockdown”

“In the UK, 64% of adults felt that their communities had ‘come together to help each other’ during the crisis”

“63% of people felt more connected to nature during lockdown”

These are all positive outcomes to arise. However it is not all good news…

“health workers and Covid patients have faced high levels of trauma”

“we become more prone to conspiracy theories or extremist views when we feel threatened”

We should retain hope:

“Covid-19 has also shone a light on another, more hopeful story; one about how ordinary people, often led by the young, are finding new ways to cope and thrive, even in hugely challenging organisations”

“What’s more, there is evidence, from previous epidemics (like SARS), as well as other kinds of emergencies, that people in crises don’t just find ways to cope with negative mental health impacts, but also report positive effects, such as greater sense of community, meaning and spirituality – sometimes summed up in the term ‘post traumatic growth”

You can read the whole article here.

To conclude, we are going to mull over these terms – and figure out how to positively word some research into organisational post-traumatic growth for organisations.

Thanks for reading,


Adapting Evaluations for Covid-19; Three Tips.

We were talking to a client earlier and sharing a newly adapted evaluation for Covid-19 times. None of us know what is coming next or when a return to face-to-face work may be possible. For our clients who often work with really vulnerable individuals this means worry, and feelings of frustration and helplessness. Many charities and not-for-profits have adapted their work: turning to online support sessions; texts; video calls; providing webinars and online discussion groups; YouTube channels; and Digital Festivals. The range of adaptive work is huge and we are adapting away too.

Online work is still making an impact – and work that makes an impact can be measured. That is where we can help: we can figure out how to measure that impact.

Even if you are not working with an evaluation consultancy, here are three simple tips you can use.

1. Use polls

Lots of our clients, and ourselves included, are now using Zoom, which has the option to create polls. You can’t do this ‘live’ during a Zoom call, it must be done in advance. There are lots of simple tutorials online about how to create one. We would recommend you try and think of just one question you can use throughout all your work, and embed it as a poll on each planned meeting. You might be working on increasing wellbeing or connection, or trying to help people cope with new day-to-day lifestyles. You could ask if people feel better for taking part; if they feel better able to cope; if they feel happier for connecting today.

This isn’t just available on Zoom, other systems including ‘Crowdcast’ have these options, so do explore if this is something you could do.

2. Send an online survey

If you are connecting or working with people online, create and send an online survey. We use SurveyMonkey, and would happily recommend it. It’s free for up to 10 questions to fewer than 100 people, and that works well for lots of projects. Today, we have just created a slightly more fancy survey which includes demographic questions, assessment of knowledge and motivation, and marketing and enjoyment. It will take people just a few minutes to complete and the team just have to copy and paste a link into the comments option on each of their webinars. It doesn’t have to be complicated though, and this brings us to our next point…

3. Just ask something

Some information is always better than no information. Just have a go at collecting something. We have recommended simple questions in the past and if in doubt, just ask what people enjoyed; what they think could have gone better; and what they would recommend you do in future.

Good luck working remotely and connecting with people, and we hope you found this mini Covid-19 tips session helpful!