The Rapid Evaluation Advice and Learning Service
This pilot project has emerged as part of the Listen and Respond activity, and is exploring how the skills and expertise of UCL staff and students can be utilised to support Camden Council to reflect on and evaluate their service delivery during the Covid-19 outbreak, and to use this learning to inform future service delivery to local people.

Set up in response to unprecedented circumstances around Covid-19, the UCL Rapid Evaluation and Learning Service (REAL Service) attempts to meet the needs of Camden Council service delivery related to evaluation, with pro-bono volunteer expertise across UCL.

Out of Term Service:
The REAL service will remain open throughout the summer. But as we approach the summer holiday period many UCL staff will be taking leave. As a result we anticipate turn-around times for the service will be longer than usual.

This service is:

  • Rapid: You will receive a response within three working days (Monday-Friday) to arrange a meeting with a member of the REAL Service Team.
  • Responsive: You will be matched with relevant UCL expertise as soon as is practicable (allowing for annual leave etc.)
  • Transparent: If we are unable to match you within a reasonable time-frame we will let you know why and close the request.
  • Broad in scope: Expertise is available on a range of evaluation related activity, from monitoring, data analysis to responsive research.
  • Short-Term: If matched, a UCL staff member will provide information and guidance that may be limited in depth on a short-term basis.
  • For Covid-19 affected services/activity only.
  • REALs volunteers provide advice and guidance on evaluation; they do not perform the evaluation itself.

What do we mean by evaluation?

When we talk about evaluation here we mean "using monitoring or other information to reflect upon and make judgement about what is being done and make changes/improvements (sometimes known as ‘responsive research’)".

It includes support for data analysis, creation of evaluation frameworks, advice for choosing evaluation methods and more.

For full information on what the service can cover please read our 'Further Information' document. (WORD)

Make a request for evaluation support


Frequently Asked Questions.

Is my request appropriate for the REAL Service?

We recommend having a read through the 'Further Information' document. If you are still unsure please submit your request and in the first stage of the matching process a member of the team will help you figure out if the REAL Service is the right mechanism for your need.

What happens if I am on leave/uncontactable during the matching period?

If you would like to make a request for support but will be uncontactable during the matching period (either for leave or for other reasons) please mention this on the 'notes' section of the request form. The ‘ten working days’ matching window will start from when you have your meeting with a member of the REAL Service team. You can make a request and organise a meeting for when you become available again.

I am looking to foster a long-term research collaboration, can the REAL Service help?

The REAL Service is not designed for long-term collaboration, although we recognise that, if mutually beneficial, longer term collaboration may arise from your match. We recommend you contact Helen Tsui: Partnership Manager (Public Sector) or Michael Reynier: Principal Partnerships Manager (Public Sector & the Professions) to discuss other possible collaborations/partnerships.

I am looking for someone to analyse data for my project, can the REAL Service help?

No. There is not currently a data sharing agreement between Camden Council and UCL, therefore UCL volunteers will not be able receive/process any data collected or held by Camden Council nor share data held by UCL. They can, however, broadly advise on how to analyse datasets if that is the nature of your request.

How involved will the REAL Service team be with my project?

The primary function of the REAL Service Team is to understand your request and match it with volunteers across UCL. They will request a meeting with you once you have made a request to check their understanding of your needs and then connect you via e-mail to a relevant UCL volunteer. Their involvement should end at this point, however you can contact them if communications break down between you and your match, you want to clarify any confusion that has arisen, or if you have any other questions related to the REAL Service. The REAL Service team may also get in touch with you to check if the match has met your expectations and for evaluation purposes.

Is REALs operating over the summer vacation period?

Yes; but please be aware that our stated turn-around times are suspended. We will endeavour to respond to requests as quickly as we can (taking into consideration staff on annual leave etc.). 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email the REAL Service team.

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