Evaluating and reviewing the impact of programmes and policies.

Using evaluation and theories of change as a core function rather than an add on.

National Youth Dance Company Evaluation

National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) recruits a cohort of young, talented contemporary dancers each year along with a guest artistic director to produce and tour a piece of contemporary dance. Since 2016, Shared Intelligence has worked with NYDC to evaluate the company, with a particular focus on that year’s cohort. Along with understanding the impact of NYDC on its cohort of dancers, it develops our and NYDC’s understanding of what works, what doesn’t work, why, and in what circumstances. The evaluation tests out the core assumptions and expectations that lead to the overall impacts.

This evaluation is a good example of why at Si we think it is important to integrate evaluation and learning into programme development. We are able to understand each year the lived experience of the dancers in each cohort and make assumptions on the impact that NYDC has on them. It also enables us to develop an understanding of the key components of the NYDC programme which produce specific impacts – for example, the huge confidence boost that the dancers receive from performing on Sadler’s Wells main stage. This deep understanding of what works within the programme has been beneficial during the challenge of Covid-19, as it provided evidence to assist with prioritising the most beneficial aspects of the programme that could be delivered during the pandemic.


Shared Intelligence has recently completed work with the London Borough of Southwark, helping them to complete a review of youth provision in the borough. This involved carrying out a number of workshops and engagement events with council officers, young people, service providers and external stakeholders to build up a full picture of provision. The key aim of this was to foster an understanding of the needs of the borough’s young people amongst stakeholders, the council and providers. To do this successfully we carried out several workshops, both in-person and virtual, a survey of schools and ethnographic fieldwork. A key part of our methodology was working alongside peer researchers, between the ages of 18-24, who were upskilled to help us to carry out our ethnographic fieldwork.

The findings and recommendations were tested and developed through an iterative process in which we were able to get feedback from relevant groups, including young people, providers and the council team who also helped us to ensure that the recommendations were deliverable and solidly based in the evidence we had collected.

Alongside colleagues at Southwark Council, the young researchers and Analogue Strategies we were awarded a 2020 Quirk’s Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Award for this work.

You can read our full report here.

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