Completed projects

Department of Health policy pilots: how the purpose of piloting matters for evaluation and learning
Department of Health policy pilots: how the purpose of piloting matters for evaluation and learning

The Department of Health is committed to evaluating policy innovations before they become national policy. To this effect, the Department frequently initiates policy pilots in order to assess the effects of policy in practice in a small number of settings before the policy is rolled out nationally. Findings from the evaluations of these pilots are expected to feed into decisions about the future direction of policy.

This project examined how, and for what purpose, recent policy pilots were initiated and how decisions about the organisation of the pilot have influenced opportunities for evaluation. A particular interest is in understanding 'early decisions', i.e. those preceding the evaluation, and their impact on the pilots and evaluation.

This study used a multiple case study design, involving an in-depth analysis of four policy pilots: the Partnership for Older People pilot; the Individual Budgets in Social Care pilot; the Whole System Demonstrators (telehealth and telecare); and the Drug Recovery Payment by Results (PbR) pilot.

The main methods used were interviews with Department of Health officials, pilot site managers and evaluators, as well as an analyis of documents, such as policy statements and evaluation reports.