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Case Studies

Thriving Communities Programme Evaluation

Thriving Communities Programme Evaluation

The Context

Oldham Council, along with system partners through the Oldham Cares Partnership, has been delivering the Thriving Communities programme, which aims to deliver intervention and prevention services in community settings to support people with physical, mental, and social health and wellbeing needs. The aim of the programme was to reduce reliance on long-term, high-cost services across health and social care, specifically focussing on reducing social isolation and the impacts on the wider determinants of poor health and wellbeing (low confidence, employability, and skills development etc.). The £2.69m programme was delivered with a whole-system approach, with collaboration between local government, VCFSE partners, and health organisations.

The Requirement

The Human Engine team were commissioned to undertake a mixed methods evaluation of the programme to investigate the benefits realised from the programme, the challenges it faced, the return on investment and experiences and perceptions of those who participated in the initiatives. Central to this was understanding and navigating a complex system, its stakeholders and differing motivations and associated benefits and promoting place-based working.

The Programme

The evaluation undertook a mixed methods approach, combining qualitative and quantitative research to prevent a well-rounded and comprehensive review of the programme. 

The evaluation included:

  • Assessment of national best practice and building on secondary research to compare and contrast Oldham’s successes, challenges and lessons learned

  • Engagement with over 100 stakeholders from across system partners, including local government, health (including clinicians, managers, and commissioners), VCFSE sector, police, housing and programme participants / service users

  • Engagement through 1:1 sessions, workshops, focus groups, surveys and project visits

  • Complex analysis of over 75,000 quantitative data points

  • Assessment of the wellbeing impact on service users using ONS4 methodology to assess life satisfaction, worthwhileness, happiness, and anxiety pre and post engagement with the programme

  • Evidencing of key cross system outcomes and metrics, determining differing drivers for change across system partners

  • Assessment of the Logic Model used for the programme to determine its viability and suitability for future programmes of similar scope

The Outcomes

  • A full mixed methods evaluation of the Thriving Communities Programme, evidencing experiences and perceptions of key stakeholder groups, including service users

  • An eight-point conclusion and eight-point recommendation summary with specific recommendations for stakeholder groups – 1) the local public service system, 2) Oldham Council, 3) Oldham VCFSE sector

  • An evidence base that was used to secure future funding for the services once the programme ends in March 2022

About Us

Human Engine is a Financial Times top-ranked management consultancy with specialisms in strategy, change, digital, commercial and projects.  

It was founded in 2018 with a belief that the public sector deserves better than it gets from traditional consulting firms – more human, more personal and more knowledgeable of the reality of delivering modern public services.

We have worked with dozens of public sector organisations to help transform their strategies, operations and cultures to be more agile, commercial and entrepreneurial in order to achieve financial sustainability and improved outcomes for customers and communities. 

Our mission is to help individuals and organisations to do the best work of their lives.  We do this by blending first-hand experience of the problems we help our clients solve with award-winning consulting expertise and an approach based on trust, collaboration and partnership. 

For more information, find us on LinkedIn or 

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