Service evaluation

Information on how to commission a service evaluation project, including what trainees are required to do for their service evaluation and how you can offer a possible project for a trainee to take up as their service evaluation.

The overall aim of the assignment is for a trainee to conduct a small scale, clinically relevant evaluation of some aspect of a service. Suitable projects might include an evaluation of a group intervention, a staff training project, needs assessment, quality of life profiles for a group of residents, consumer satisfaction with services, analysis of referral data etc.

There is flexibility in terms of topic area, but the project should:

  • Be service oriented
  • Have implications for the effectiveness or efficiency of service delivery
  • Involve the collection or analysis of data
  • Be small scale

Programme requirements

The service evaluation submission comprises two sections: the Evaluation Report and a Critical Appraisal. This submission should be between 3,000 and 5,000 words in length. Trainees should consult the Programme Handbook for further details.

The Evaluation Report is produced for the service and is considered as part of the assessment. This report should consist of a brief account of the evaluation written for a specific and defined audience (e.g. a sector or service manager, a purchasing group, a voluntary organisation etc.) A clear executive summary, ideally of a single page (maximum two pages), which includes a brief outline of the work, findings and the recommendations for action, must be a prominent feature at the beginning of the report.

Commissioner role

The guiding principle here is that all projects have to be practical and useful to the department, in which the trainee conducts the evaluation, and relate to some aspect of the current service or planned service development. This usually means that it should be a piece of work that the supervisor, head of department, or a colleague would like to have done.

Often the service evaluation will constitute part of a trainee´s ongoing clinical work on a placement. However, sometimes a trainee may complete a service evaluation in a different service to the one they are currently on placement. In this instance the trainee should negotiate the matter with their supervisor, clinical tutor and the service evaluation commissioner. Usually half a day per week from a single placement is allocated for the purpose of the assignment, although this might rise to one day per week out of University semester time. The trainee is the major person responsible for implementing the service evaluation.

Sometimes trainees are asked to conduct an evaluation with a different professional group, and this is fine. If a large project has been identified, it is possible to commission two trainees to complete the project with each trainee taking responsibility for a different aspect of the project. Sometimes trainees in different years may build on the work completed with an earlier services evaluation.

We place an emphasis on dissemination of the evaluation findings. Trainees are asked to feedback the results to the service and other relevant groups in the form of a written report and presentations.


Costs incurred for service evaluations must be borne by the service and cannot be claimed against University research funds. You are encouraged to discuss with your supervisor how the Service or Trust might benefit from your work, and whether sources of financial support might be available to you.

Commissioning a service evaluation

Please complete the Service Evaluation Commissioning Form and email it to Amrit Sinha, Research Support Officer.

If you prefer to work on paper you may print out this form and send it to Amrit Sinha, Research Support Officer, Clinical Psychology Unit, Cathedral Court, 1 Vicar Lane, Sheffield S1 2LT.

We will look over the summary and if it looks suitable we will add it to our List of Commissions on Blackboard (the University intranet) that the trainees have access to. We will let you know when we have put it on Blackboard. If a trainee does not take up your service evaluation, we will contact you after one year to see if the evaluation remains available.

If you have an idea for a commission but would like to talk it over with us first, please contact Jaime Delgadillo (0114 2226614) or Amrit Sinha (0114 2226650).