The Rapid Evaluation Advice and Learning Service - UCL Staff
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 expertise across UCL.

We are looking for UCL Academics and Professional Services staff with experience in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) to take part in the service and provide support for Camden Council.

At the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown, Camden Council were required to re-engineer almost all their key services, from child support to business growth, within a matter of days.  

Before the pandemic, re-configuring Camden’s public policy and community services would have taken many months and would be accompanied by a variety of assessments, including cost-benefit, equality of access, sustainability and environmental impact.  

During the pandemic, few assessments were conducted prior to rolling out the change in service, such was the speed of redesign. Now, the local authority has an urgent opportunity to monitor, evaluate and learn from their performance, especially as London moves towards more restrictive Covid measures and would benefit from outside advice and expertise.  

The MEL guidance you provide may underpin Camden Council decisions on whether to revert to original models or switch to a redesigned model.  

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.

Sign-Up Here


Frequently Asked Questions.

What support will I be able to provide? 

The REAL Service has been specifically designed to be purely short-term, light touch and responsive. 

The type of MEL information, advice and guidance you provide could be, for example: 

  • support to develop evaluation frameworks and plans  
  • support to identify appropriate evaluation methods  
  • advice on prioritising evaluation questions
  • guidance on analysing data (Needs details on boundary of data)
  • advice on implementing evaluation methods 
  • reviewing evaluation materials   
  • guidance on embedding learning practices   
  • signposting to useful resources or existing work    

We will endeavor to match you with projects which most closely match the skills, interests and availability that you describe within the EOI form.

Please note there isn't a data sharing agreement between Camden Council and UCL. 

How much time will I need to commit? 

You may volunteer any level of time you have available, anywhere from 30 minutes to 2+ hours, and on a one-off, fixed term, or irregular basis throughout the duration of this service, and in line with the requirements of the project that you are matched with. 

The EOI form has been designed to capture the level of commitment you feel most likely to be able to make. We appreciate that many of our UCL colleagues will be making ongoing arrangements to ensure that their own healthcare, childcare or caring responsibilities are me. If your circumstances change, you are welcome to revise your commitment upwards/downwards and/or remove details from the REAL Service database by emailing listen-and-respond@ucl.ac.uk.  

If you do not have capacity during this period (Autumn 2020) but would like to in the future, once a more permanent service is set up, let us know.

What will happen after I have filled in the EOI form? 

Step 1: By filling out the EOI form, your details will be added to an internal UCL REAL Service database of academics & PS staff willing to volunteer short-term, light-touch monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) support. 

Step 2: Camden Council staff will contact the dedicated UCL REAL Service with an EOI form providing key details about their project/work that would benefit from MEL support.  

Step 3: UCL REAL Service will match the request for support to an academic or Professional Services staff member from the REAL Service database whose skillset, interests, and level of availability match the needs of the project within a max. of 10 working days. If we feel the project is a potential match, we will forward the full details of Camden Council’s request on to you. A member of our team will get in touch to pass on any specifics, and then if you choose to support, we will connect you directly with Camden Council’s point of contact. 

If no suitable match is available within 10 working days, UCL will not provide MEL support.  

Step 4: Someone from UCL’s REAL Service will contact you later to monitor and gather feedback on your experience of supporting Camden Council. 

Am I able to extend my support towards a particular project beyond the scope of the REAL Service?

Yes. If you wish to independently provide further support beyond this initial information, advice and guidance (e.g. running a training session or facilitating a workshop, or initiating any longer-term research or consultancy collaborations), you are welcome to independently suggest activities to Camden Council. However, in line with our MoU with Camden Council, these will not be promoted as part of UCL’s REAL Service offer.  

Please note there isn't a data sharing agreement between Camden Council and UCL. If you wish to independently share data with Camden Council, then this is beyond the scope of the REAL Service and you would need to arrange your own data sharing agreements and protocols.  

Please do share with colleagues who have Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning experience and would be interested in the service.  

REAL Service forms part of Listen and Respond, one of UCL’s responses to the pandemic led by the Volunteering Services and the Engagement team (UCL Culture). REAL service has also been developed and supported by the Business and Innovation Partnerships team (Innovation and Enterprise), Research Impact Curation and Support team (OVPR) and Camden Council. 

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

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