Paul Courtney worked with South West Forum and Clarity to undertake an evaluation of the Somerset Village Agents project.
The main aim of the Village Agent project is to reduce isolation and help to connect excluded and vulnerable people across rural areas in Somerset with services that can support them.
As the project is constantly evolving and has been enhanced with several pilot projects involving health and social care, the Community Council for Somerset (CCS) commissioned an evaluation to establish how the project meets the identified and unmet needs of communities, provides value for money and how it can be commissioned in future.
The final evaluation report – Agents for Change – was submitted to CCS in March 2017. Paul undertook the economic analysis, which showed that grant funding of £570K generated around £5.25m in cost savings to the state and wider social value, yielding an indicative cost-benefit ratio of up to 900%.