Independent External Evaluator Brief
We are seeking an evaluation partner for the lifetime of our programme through to November 2023 (and perhaps beyond subject to future funding).
Barra Culture is one of 12 new Creative People and Places (CPP) projects recently awarded funding by Arts Council England with the aim of increasing participation in the arts, particularly amongst those least engaged.
This exciting, once-in-a-generation programme aims to transform the cultural landscape and infrastructure in our geographically remote but creative and proud town. The remaining three year intervention will spark aspiration and pride across the local populace, taking our residents on a journey to explore and celebrate their sense of selves in collaboration with established world class, exciting and innovative new artistic talent.
Our programme will benefit all of Barrow's 67,000 population but with an in-depth focus on the most deprived and least engaged communities in the wards of Barrow Island, Central, Hindpool, Ormsgill, Risedale and Walney North.
Our vision is "Everyone in Barrow will have the opportunity to experience and be inspired by distinctive arts and culture in their local community".
Barra Culture has been developed and is led by a consortium of Barrow-based organisations who will provide strategic oversight with Women's Community Matters as Lead Partner and accountable body. The Consortium is made up of Brathay Trust, Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria County Council Libraries and Archives and Barrow Arts Group, comprising of Art Gene, The Ashton Group Theatre, Full of Noises and Signal Film & Media.
Barrovians are a proud and strong community, welcoming people from all around the world.
Barrow itself is a place of great contrasts. It is presently experiencing economic growth that is unprecedented in a generation. BAE Systems, Barrow's major employer is growing and enjoying full order books into the 2050s and the Borough has been invited to bid for Town Deal and Heritage High Street funds. Barrow is also becoming synonymous with sustainable and renewable technologies through the presence of Orsted and also through the creative work of artists/arts and cultural organisations such as Art Gene and Signal Film and Media.
At the same time, we have 4 of the poorest electoral wards in the country and are ranked 5th nationally for health deprivation and disability. Audience Agency profiling suggests that 59% of the population currently have low engagement with arts and culture versus a national average of 33%.
Barrow was once voted the most working-class town in Britain. Meanwhile it ranks number 1 in the RSA's Heritage Index of all 325 English Boroughs for its landscape and natural heritage. The Borough has over 40 miles of coast, islands and nature reserves, only minutes away from the dense urban core.
Our evaluation needs
Creative People and Places is an action research project and we are a new programme which will work in an iterative and agile way with the communities of Barrow.
Therefore, we are seeking an independent evaluator with a flexible and adaptable approach to provide both formative and summative evaluations of samples of our activities alongside an overall whole programme evaluation. We want to work with our evaluator to develop a theory of change. This will help us to shape and re-shape our activity on an ongoing basis, and formally to assist us with regular reporting to Arts Council England and other stakeholders and to make specific recommendations at the end of each year. We are also requiring an interim report which will support planning and fundraising for future phases of programme development and delivery beyond 2023.
At the heart of our evaluation and in line with CPP guidance, our evaluation concentrates on the three national evaluation questions set by Arts Council England:
- Are more people from places of least engagement experiencing and inspired by the arts?
- To what extent was the aspiration for excellence of art and excellence of the process of engaging communities achieved?
- Which approaches were successful and what were the lessons learned?
In addition to this we also wish to explore if our long-term outcomes are on track:
- Is the overall audience for arts and culture in Barrow growing as a result of our work?
- Are Barrovians exercising leadership, ownership and decision-making over their cultural offer?
- Is the cultural sector in Barrow growing in size and confidence?
- How is the local and national image of Barrow changing as a consequence of our work?
The evaluator will report to the Programme Director and will work closely with the entire delivery team.
They will also work with our partner at Forum in Barrow who will support all of our project data capture and reporting via their Spektrix system.
They will also seek to align our evaluation work with the learning arising from the Love Barrow Together project.
They will work with the team to establish key milestones and activities within the programme and build the evaluation framework around these
- Establish frameworks and methodologies for collecting qualitative and quantitative data
- Provide training to staff, volunteers and artists on project evaluation planning, delivery of project evaluations and the collection of data
- Analyse and interpret quantitative and qualitative data collated by the Barra Culture team and assist in the completion quarterly Arts Council England monitoring reports, annual analysis carried out by the Audience Agency and use of the Impact & Insights Toolkit
- Incorporate capture and use of individuals stories
- Advise of best practice and innovative approaches to evaluation
- Find engaging ways to disseminate the findings of our evaluation and highlight the
impact of our work, potentially including blog posts, zines, artist commissions and documentary films. These may be co-authored with the Programme Director and there is a modest additional budget for this
- Attend meetings of the Consortium Board to discuss each report produced
We expect our external evaluator/s to create the following reports, in conjunction with the team:
- Quarterly reports to Consortium and ACE
- Annual reports to Consortium and ACE
- Year three report with recommendations for Phase 3 bidding
- Final report
|Project start||November 2020|
|Development of whole programme evaluation plan, data collection methodologies and project evaluation toolkit||December 2020|
|Quarterly Report||Feb 2021|
|Year one evaluation report||May 2021|
|Quarterly Report||Aug 2021|
|Quarterly Report||Nov 2021|
|Quarterly Report||Feb 2022|
|Year two evaluation report||May 2022|
|Quarterly Report||Aug 2022|
|Quarterly Report||Nov 2022|
|Quarterly Report||Feb 2023|
|Year Three evaluation report and recommendations for phase 3 and 4||May 2023|
|Quarterly Report||Aug 2023|
|Final report||Nov 2023|
The evaluator will lead a review and planning workshop with consortium, delivery team and advisory group members to consider each annual report and inform subsequent years' activity plans.
Reports should be designed and authored with a broad audience in mind, using simple and engaging language, and extensive use of visual and diagrammatic presentation. The evaluator will create and accompany each report with a blog post outlining the highlights of the evaluation and we will utilise a full range of media for case studies.
Equal weight should be given to learning from both successes and failures, with recommendations for how this could shape our future programme.
We wish to use case studies, in written and video form, to highlight individuals' journeys within the programme, showcase best practice and explore specific aspects of our approach in more detail.
The themes of case studies will be decided upon in collaboration with the team, and should provide the opportunity for an in-depth analysis of interesting findings within evaluation reports. They should be honest, presented in an accessible format and suitable for public sharing through both our own channels and other industry platforms (such as Culture Hive and the national CPP website).
We are looking for a consultant with:
- Experience of evaluation in the arts and culture sector, and specifically of evaluating
arts engagement programmes and preferably a Creative People and Places
- A focus on process as well as outcomes
- Experience of working with teams in operational settings
- Experience of engaging local people in the evaluation process
- Experience of facilitating action planning / reflection workshops
- Ability to travel to various sites around the project area
- Strong and clear written communication skills in report writing
Your tender will be scored against the following criteria:
- Experience and track record in evaluations of this type produced by your
organisation and by the individual team members who would work on the evaluation
- Methodology and approach
- Cost efficiency
Duration of contract: Nov 2020 - Nov 2023 (Review and mutual break clause in April 2021).
The total budget is £35,000 (exc. VAT, including all travel and other expenses).
There is a small additional budget available to support data collection at events and for dissemination of evaluation, which will be held by the team and spend against these will need to be agreed with the Programme Director.
Please contact Rebecca Robson - email@example.com 01229 311102 if you have any questions about this tender.
All tenders should be submitted to Barra Culture at firstname.lastname@example.org by 10am Monday 2nd November
Interviews will be held on Tuesday 10th November in Barrow. Please let us know immediately if it would be impossible for you to attend that day.
Your tender should be a maximum of 10 sides of A4 which include the following information:
- How your understanding of this brief and the context for Barra Culture's work will shape your approach to the evaluation
- An outline methodology that states how you will respond to our evaluation needs set out above
- How you will manage the project
- Your ideas about how you will present the evaluation findings to ensure they have
traction and influence
- A budget for the evaluation that is broken down against individual stages or tasks as
outlined in your methodology
- A summary of your relevant experience
- Profiles for your evaluation team members
- Copies (or links to) two of your recent and relevant evaluation reports or products
- 2 references or referees from organisations that have commissioned you to undertake similar work
Additionally, please include team CVs as appendices.
Barra Culture is committed to equal opportunities. We are working to achieve diversity and welcome applications from all sections of the community. In support of this, we have an access budget available to people with a disability delivering aspects of our programme. If you require additional support to complete this contract, please outline these in your application. Any such requests will not affect the outcome of our decisions. If you require additional support in making an application, or would like this information in an alternative format, please contact email@example.com