First A Better Start evaluation paper published by the British Medical Journal

The first peer-reviewed paper from the ‘A Better Start’ (ABS) evaluation has been published. Ecorys UK is part of the consortium evaluating this early intervention programme, which intends to improve outcomes during pregnancy and the first few years of a child’s life.

The study plan, published in The British Medical Journal, sets out research to evaluate the impact and cost-effectiveness of ABS, which receives funding through Big Lottery Fund. Primary outcomes being investigated include nutrition, socioemotional development, speech, language and learning. The evaluation paper summarises the various evaluation strands, which include a large, longitudinal design with matched comparison sites; implementation data; and a separate baseline survey.

A Better Start is currently delivered in five areas across the UK. These areas met the ABS criteria due to their prevalent socioeconomic disadvantage, and were awarded a share of £215 m from the Big Lottery Fund following a competitive tendering process.

This national evaluation is running over 10 years and is led by the University of Oxford and University of Warwick. Ecorys is the learning and dissemination partner. Our team, led by Kath McKenna, is working to help bring together evidence from the academic research, and the grass-roots co production work that is happening as part of the programme. Ecorys UK are focusing on delivering a programme of activities to ensure:

  • outcomes and learning are promoted and shared among ABS stakeholders
  • publication of full reports and wider dissemination of key findings in written outputs, such as thematic summaries, learning reports, blogs and news articles
  • learning is shared via a series of national conferences, workshops and policy round-table sessions

Supporting programme level stakeholder engagement, through the production of a joint stakeholder engagement strategy, is a priority of the programme. Key findings from the national evaluation and programme are being captured and disseminated through bespoke communications activities.

Please click here for the full evaluation paper.

For more information please contact:

Katharine McKenna (Ecorys UK): Service Manager, A Better Start Learning and Dissemination Workstream. 

Laurie Day (Ecorys UK): Contract Director, A Better Start Learning and Dissemination Workstream.