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How safe and ethical is our evaluation | Practical tools and tips

Ensuring all young people benefit from and are not harmed by our evaluation processes is central to best practice in evaluation. You may want to set up your own internal ethics panel to ensure your work is ethical or you may want to develop a link with a partner university to provide your ethical review. This section covers how to ensure you collect and store data securely and are compliant with regulations like GDPR, as well as general safety concerns as in all youth work. 

Starting point

Start here if you are a youth practitioner new to evaluation and quality improvement design​:

Ethical Approval Application Template

Whilst you do not necessarily need to apply for university ethics for your project, you may want to know what it would involve, and how to complete the application.

Download the template

An Evaluation Risk Assessment

Whilst you may consistently risk-assess your youth work provision, how often do you risk-assess your evaluation activities? You can access some risk assessment templates here.

Access templates


Ethics involves consideration of how you will address and safeguarding issues or disclosure that may occur in your evaluation activities. The NYA provide an excellent guide to safeguarding here.​

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We All Count Data Equity Framework

The Data Equity Framework is a systematic way of looking at data projects. It organises every project into 7 stages: funding, motivation, project design, data collection and sourcing, analysis, interpretation, and communication and distribution. 

View here


Resources to build on your experience of evaluation frameworks and continuous quality improvement:​

Knowing what to consider before undertaking research with young people ​

If you’re looking to learn about the ethical considerations surrounding research with children and young people, take a look at the list outlined by The Economic and Social Research Council (2021). While you may not be embarking a formal research study, they are important considerations in the context of any evaluation work you are designing. ​

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The UK Research and Innovation Council Guide to Research with Vulnerable People​

This website has an excellent guide to prompt your thinking about ‘vulnerability’ in research, and is also a compendium of wider research resources.​

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We All Count Funding Web tool

Understanding the interplay between money, data, and decision making is essential to measuring the equity balance in your data projects. We All Count provide this excellent tool for mapping and understanding those relationships in your work. 

View here

Toward Racial-Equity: A SJEDI Checklist by Tamara Young

Tamara Young provides really helpful guidance on how to create a social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (SJEDI) checklist for your work, with a racial equity focus. 

Read here
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Case study

A group of organisations working together in a large study had concerns that one of the data collection tools they had been asked to use was not a good match for the project. It seemed to ask questions that were not related to the project aims but to the funders’ interest. They asked a small group of young people to test the tool and to give their views, after which they said they felt it was not useful to the project and asked too many personal questions. The team took the young people’s feedback to the funders, and the requirement to use the tool was removed.