SYSTRA’s in-house experts and research specialists have the niche expertise required to plan, manage and execute vital monitoring and evaluation projects on any scale throughout the UK. We have expertise in delivering impact, process and value for money evaluations of policies, strategies, schemes, services and products.

M&E provides learnings on what works

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) provides learnings on ‘what works’ including what impacts have been observed, for whom, and what mechanisms led to outcomes. In line with the Magenta Book (HMT, 2020), SYSTRA understands the vital role of M&E in the policy cycle, supporting our clients in robust and credible decision-making and accountability for public funding.

Our experience tells us it is essential that M&E activity has a clear purpose and focus, and is proportional, co-creative, flexible, inclusive, practical, transparent and rigorous. However, we recognise that there are considerable challenges associated with effective M&E. The first is finding qualified experts to carry out specialised M&E work, particularly experts with knowledge of key stakeholders, data, M&E design and capability to deliver both primary and secondary research to address any data gaps.

Financial and timeframe constraints may also limit the extent of M&E that is possible, including which impacts and outcomes can be assessed. Finally, accurately assessing and attributing the impacts of specific interventions can be difficult, given the complex web of variables at play.

As a sector specialist with a dedicated research team, SYSTRA has the niche expertise required to address these challenges in the transport, environment, sustainability, water and energy sectors.

Discover how SYSTRA provides expert insight and advice to support decision making, policy development and strategy.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is just one element of the full range of planning-to-delivery services offered by the specialists at SYSTRA.

Our specialist planners, economists and researchers can draw on more than 40 years’ experience and training in planning and managing M&E projects. By combining our research expertise with our planning knowledge, we can design and deliver high-quality projects, materials and outputs for all M&E commissions. We have expertise in scoping and delivering evaluation studies using a variety of qualitative and quantitative data collection and processing approaches.

M&E Scoping

SYSTRA has extensive experience in scoping M&E programmes and frameworks, including defining suitable and proportionate metrics for assessing the performance of schemes and developing Evaluation Questions, Logic Models and Theories of Change. We recognise the importance of building understanding of the policy, strategy, scheme, service or product in question, and establishing the aims for its evaluation at an early stage, working with our clients and their stakeholders to ensure the final M&E framework proposed is proportionate and feasible for all involved.

Process, impact and value-for-money evaluations

SYSTRA has completed process, impact and value-for-money evaluations for a wide range of policies, strategies, schemes, services and products. These range from large-scale evaluations of Department for Transport (DfT) programmes, to small-scale evaluations of road improvement schemes for local authorities. They include evaluations of policy measures, active travel schemes, public transport ticketing and fares, network operations and major investment programmes.

Our leadership in this field stems from our earlier work in helping the Department for Transport draft guidance on M&E of Local Authority Major Schemes, and extends to our current extensive portfolio of major programme evaluations for DfT, including working with the Departments’ Centre for Excellence.

M&E DEVELOPED AND SUPPORTED BY IN-HOUSE RESEARCHERS

Our dedicated research team has the most up-to-date understanding and training on all aspects of M&E, including the value of Theory of Change and quasi-experimental and contribution analysis approaches, following the principles of the Magenta Book.

We understand the data processing and research methods that underpin effective evaluation, with particular expertise in conducting primary and secondary research to fill any data landscape gaps. Our research experience includes research with the public/scheme users, operators, business stakeholders, local residents, public and voluntary sector stakeholders and academics.

Our in-house researchers are adept at applying creativity and pragmatism to ensure we can deliver practical M&E for specific clients and projects. Our innovations include the development of an interactive logic-mapping tool for complex evaluations.

Interpreting and presenting actionable results

The outcomes of any M&E project can be complex and difficult to interpret. That’s why clients value our skill in articulating the results at a strategic high-level to inform clear messaging, as well as at a more detailed tactical level to support the assessment and adaptation of schemes and interventions.

Our transport M&E capabilities are enhanced by our expertise in ex-ante appraisals and business case development. This gives us an exceptionally strong understanding of the economic, financial and other factors that underpin transport business cases – which can then be used as the basis for evaluating the outcomes of those schemes.

Ultimately, our M&E projects help our clients to continuously improve schemes and interventions in the UK, feeding directly into long-term robust and credible decision-making and accountability for public funding.

“Thanks for all your hard work on this report and indeed the whole project – this is a really solid report.”

DfT – Department for Transport re: DfT flexible season ticket evaluation

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