2: Evaluation design and methodology

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This chapter provides details of the design of the evaluation and methodology employed. It examines the aims and objectives of the evaluation before providing details of the ways in which data were gathered.

The overall aim of the evaluation was to assess the impact of the Effective Bail Scheme (EBS) together with the Bail Information Pathfinder (BIP) on custodial remands, court attendance rates, compliance with bail conditions, offending on bail and the provision of low risk accommodation, as well as to assess the costs and benefits of the bail schemes particularly in terms of prison places. The evaluation aimed, also, to examine partnership working between NOMS and the voluntary sector and to identify effective practice in relation to the provision of bail schemes. The evaluation was funded and overseen by the Ministry of Justice.

The evaluation was an implementation and process evaluation which had the primary aim of improving the operation of the bail schemes and took the form of action research. In addition, monitoring data were collected to assess the interim outcomes of the scheme. The original intention was to include an outcome and economic evaluation but this was deemed not to be viable by the funders. The more specific objectives were to:

  • examine the implementation process for EBS;

  • identify effective practice in terms of implementing EBS;

  • identify the role of BIP in the EBS process;

  • describe the BIP and EBS process and produce process maps;

  • examine the operation of EBS and BIP (where applicable) including assessment and referral mechanisms and the provision of bail support;

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