However, there is currently a lack of good quality economic evaluation in many areas of social welfare. Part of the Contemporary Research Issues series, Making the most of it is the culmination of a two-year project to promote better understanding and use of economic evaluation in the social welfare field. The first part of the report examines the current state of economic evaluation, discusses why its application in social welfare can be so challenging, and looks at the different approaches taken by economists and other evaluators.
The second part of the report provides general guidance on the different stages involved in economic evaluation in the social welfare field, with examples from published studies and from four case-study evaluations in community development, homelessness prevention, foster care, and fuel poverty. It is not prescriptive about the methods to use, but highlights some of the key issues and how these might be addressed in practice, based on a flexible and eclectic approach to economic evaluation.