HEFCE : National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) – Formative Evaluation and Capacity Building icon

HEFCE : National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) – Formative Evaluation and Capacity Building

CFE in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University are undertaking a four year formative evaluation and programme of capacity building for the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE’s) National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) to understand what works, in what context and why. The NCOP is a new four-year investment by HEFCE to meet the Government aims to double the participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and increase by 20 per cent the number of students from ethnic minority groups into higher education by 2020. Twenty-nine consortia have been awarded funding to target areas with low absolute levels of HE participation and where participation is lower than expected given GCSE attainment rates.

Our mixed-method approach involves primary research, including surveys, interviews and case studies with consortia members and analysis of HEFCE monitoring data and local evaluation evidence. The research team will work closely with each consortia to assess their local evaluation plans, to provide support to develop robust evidence of impact, and to share learning and effective practice. The capacity building programme will comprise one-to-one support, workshops, webinars and a discussion forum.

The formative evaluation and capacity building forms one strand of a wider programme of monitoring and evaluation to establish longer-term impacts and return on investment. CFE, in partnership with the Behaviourial Insights Team and economists from the University of Sheffield and LSE, are undertaking the impact evaluation.

You can find out more information about the NCOP formative evaluation and capacity building via the following link: Formative Evaluation and Capacity Building for NCOP.

Please click on the links below to read the NCOP executive summary and year one report:






Rachel Moreton image

Key project contact

Rachel Moreton

Rachel is an experienced researcher and project manager. She joined the CFE team in 2012 after working as a freelance researcher and as a senior research officer for the Department for Communities and Local Government.

In her role at CFE, Rachel has led a diverse range of projects, many related to tackling disadvantage. This includes our nine-year national evaluation of the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Supporting People with Multiple Needs’ initiative.