Social work practice is increasingly rooted in the need to justify intervention in terms of effectiveness and efficiency and whether value for money has been achieved. For most workers this becomes enmeshed in audited systems of measuring the tangible outcomes of service delivery. It is about demonstrating the extent to which agency targets have been achieved — which may be very different from the service experienced by the user. However, whilst part of the managerial agenda, evaluation is also integral to good professional practice, enabling workers to learn from their experiences and to enhance the quality of service being delivered. Given the potential scope for discussion about the concept of evaluation, this chapter seeks to focus on the impact of evaluation on the work of individual practitioners as they interact with service users. It is not about research per se but rather is focused on the more reflective aspects of evaluation.
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