The program, Safe-injection Services in Toronto, first opened in August 2017, therefore the methodologies that will be used to evaluate are evaluability assessment, formative/process evaluation and summative/outcome evaluation. The following information is an explanation of how and why each will be used for this evaluation.Evaluability Assessment Given how new this service is to the City of Toronto, it may be necessary to conduct this assessment first to determine the readiness for a program evaluation plan. 8 According to Jung and Schubert (1983), the evaluability assessment “are used to describe the objectives, logic and activities of the programme with an aim to investigate its credibility, feasibility, sustainability and acceptability.
” 10 Many resources are required to complete an evaluation plan, and if the information and resources are not fully realized and available due to the infancy of the program then there may not be useful information to gather and present.Formative or Process evaluationFormative or process evaluation takes into consideration the inputs, activities and outputs. It helps evaluate whether the services are being implemented as it was initially intended. This evaluation process is beneficial to programs that are new in its implementation because the stakeholders and supporters of the program want to ensure that the services are being utilized by the specified target group and there is adherence to the program model by those executing and working in the program.
For the Safe-injection Services in Toronto, the stakeholders and supporters will want to see that the target group, IDUs, are coming to the clinics to decrease their health risks associated with injecting in public and with non-sterile equipment. In addition, it is an opportunity to build relationships with this vulnerable sector and get them access to other health and social services to address any underlying medical issues, and eventually assist in detoxification and treatment.Summative/outcome evaluation As indicated above, this program is in its early stages of inception. It is not uncommon for a summative or outcome evaluation to be conducted along with a formative or process evaluation. 8 In this type of evaluation, the focus is on short-, medium- and long-term outcomes. The City of Toronto is already posting statistics 9 about usage of The Works SIS clinic.
This data helps determine if the program is meeting some of its intended outcomes. In addition, unintended outcomes may arise. For example, the initial estimated number of users of the service may be greater than the resources available at the centre. Understanding where these users are coming from may help inform the need to either move one of the three available services to a different location in the city or perhaps the need to open a fourth program in the city that serves this particular population.