Heritage Ability Project, South West

Heritage Ability Project, South West

Heritage Ability Project, South West

Brief for External Research Consultant

1. Introduction

This brief is written for the Heritage Ability Project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). It sets out the requirements for a Research Consultant to undertake an independent evaluation of the Project. The aim of the project is to improve customer experience at Heritage sites for disabled people and for people from the Deaf community (using British Sign Language), so they can better understand and interpret their local Heritage. The project is being led and managed by Living Options Devon.

The evaluation should cover the full three year period of the funding, 2017 - 2020, and demonstrate the ‘story’ of the project, including changes made in the community; changes for beneficiaries, frustrations and challenges; and lessons learned. The evaluation must indicate whether the project has met the prescribed HLF outcomes determined in the original funding application.

All work will be undertaken in consultation with Living Options Devon Research Lead, who is responsible for the internal monitoring and evaluation of the three year project.

2. Context

Living Options Devon (LOD) is a model ‘Disabled People’s User Led Organisation’ (Charity number 1102489) championing needs and rights. We have been empowering disabled and Deaf people for 25 years. Run and led by disabled and Deaf people, 80% of Board members and volunteers, and 53% of employees are disabled and Deaf people, providing lived experience of the issues facing disabled and Deaf people. Based in Exeter and Barnstaple, we also benefit people outside of Devon through UK pilot projects, regional and national work.

3. The Heritage

The project is all about improving access to local Heritage sites for people with disabilities and Deaf people. Twenty sites have been selected to offer different types of natural heritage (Country Parks, National Parks, formal parks and gardens) as well as built heritage (stately homes and industrial archaeological sites). These include Wheal Martyn Museum, Kents Cavern, Durlston Country Park, Killerton, Cockington Country Park and RAMM, Exeter.

People visiting these sites will learn about wildlife; nature conservation; the environment; history and human stories that have shaped heritage over the years. People will also participate in activities and volunteering opportunities.

This project is absolutely essential when considering the sheer numbers of disabled people. There are over 12 million disabled people in the UK (Papworth Trust, 2014). By basing this project in the South West, it will benefit relatively more disabled people because there is a higher than average % of older and disabled people resident in the region. People with a disability living in a rural area where transport links are not good are doubly disadvantaged when considered in the context of poor accessibility to heritage sites.

There are a lack of disability and Deaf friendly opportunities to learn about heritage, mainly due to heritage staff lack of training, skills and awareness of the needs and preferences of disabled and Deaf people.

LOD knows from our discussions with disabled and Deaf people over many years that accessible leisure facilities (including heritage sites) are really important in improving quality of life, for disabled and Deaf people, their families and carers. Heritage staff are keen to address this issue, but do not feel they have the knowledge or skills to improve their disability services without expert help and support. Heritage visitor sites might technically meet Equality Act requirements but they are not necessarily disability-friendly, resulting in fewer people from these groups enjoying and learning about their local Heritage when compared with non-disabled groups.

4. The Project

The Heritage Ability Project will improve customer experience at Heritage sites for disabled and Deaf people so they can better understand and interpret their local Heritage. The HLF grant will provide ‘seed funding’ for a sustainable business model by increasing visitor income received from disabled people and their family/carers which will be re-invested into the scheme. The project provides a unique opportunity to share learning and develop skills between and across the heritage and disability worlds. In addition to Heritage Partner sites, we will work with disability Partner Organisations to ensure the project continues to consider the needs of disabled and Deaf people in the development of inclusive Heritage interpretation.

Working with our partners we will provide mobility equipment and accessible ‘walk’ maps; train and mentor their staff and volunteers to deliver more inclusive heritage activities and recruit teams of BSL speaking volunteers, who will be supported to produce BSL clips and BSL guided tours of local heritage that they are interested in.

5. Role of the Consultant

The ‘Consultant' will report to the Health and Social Care Lead, and will work in close liaison with the Research Lead and Heritage Development Manager to carry out an independent evaluation of the project; paying particular attention to how and to what extent it has achieved outcomes set out in the Heritage Ability Activity Plan in addition to the following overarching HLF outcomes:-

  • People will have learnt about heritage;
  • People will have developed skills;
  • People will have volunteered time; and
  • More people and a wider range of people will have engaged with heritage.

It is expected that the consultant will use a variety of data collection techniques and methodologies and will ensure that due consideration is given to HLF’s recommended four key principles to an effective evaluation:

  • Look beyond outputs – to evaluate change means looking at the real differences made by a project;
  • Tell the story – It is important to be clear about the link between activities and actions and the change that they are designed to bring about. This is about knowing how (not just whether) a particular activity is bringing about change, and requires an effort to understand the narrative of how outputs lead to the longer-term outcomes and impacts;
  • Involve people in the evaluation and make it a conversation – A search for a meaningful narrative requires a dialogue, rather than a mere extraction of data from people; and
  • Choose indicators that matter – With a better understanding of how an activity or initiative is designed to bring about change it is possible to identify milestones along the path that demonstrate whether or not it is on course.

Evaluation will be undertaken for all major project activities and beneficiary groups to include Heritage site staff and volunteers, service users, project staff and volunteers; demonstrating overall project impact. The evaluation will be a key driver to ensuring ongoing sustainability of the project and to develop a strategic legacy.

It is anticipated that monitoring and evaluation will be undertaken as follows:

External Evaluation Consultant / Living Options Devon Research Lead
Advise on overall evaluation framework / Collect monitoring data
Work with internal Research Manager to prepare interim and final reports / Collate and analyse mystery visiting activity and provide feedback to sites
Assess impact of project on Heritage site staff and volunteers / Gather and collate training feedback and report to sites
Assess impact of project on project team including volunteers / Gather and collate volunteer feedback
Assess impact of project on visitors with disabilities and Deaf people / Gather and collate feedback in relation to project activity

6. Confidentiality and Ethical Considerations

All data collected will be anonymised, confidential and treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) will be signed by the Consultant to protect participants and Living Options Devon. All interview participants will be asked to sign a consent form.

The project evaluation will adhere to the key principles of ethical research outlined by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as follows: research will be designed, reviewed and undertaken to ensure integrity, quality and transparency; all participants will be fully informed of the purpose, methods and intended possible uses of the research and what their participation in the research entails, and what risks are involved; participants will only take part if they choose to; and throughout the research harm to all participants will be avoided under all circumstances.

7. Timetable

The Heritage Ability project commenced in May 2017. It is a three year project . Internal monitoring and evaluation will be carried out through the project. Input will be required from the external consultant:

  • In September/October 2017 to advise on ongoing internal monitoring and evaluation systems and agree how these will support the independent evaluation
  • Midway through year 2 to collect additional data to prepare for an interim report.
  • In the last 12 months of the project to provide an independent assessment for the final evaluation report


Contract value:2017: 1 day £500 (£416.67 + £83.33 VAT)
2018: 2 days £1000 (£833.33 + 166.67 VAT)
2019 :3 days £4500 (£3,750 + £750 VAT)
Total budget of £6,000 (inclusive of VAT, travel and expenses)
A total fee of £6,000 ( £5000 + £1000 VAT) for the satisfactory completion of all work outlined in the brief. Please note that the budget for this commission is fixed. All tender submissions should be inclusive of expenses and subsistence.

The Consultant will be responsible for ensuring their own health & safety and those they work with, complying with relevant legislation

There is no holiday entitlement, pension scheme or other benefit associated with this appointment.

9. Experience and Skills

  • Experience working as a consultant:
  • Proven experience of designing, delivering and reporting on commissioned assignments
  • Experience of proposal development and writing, budget preparation and monitoring
  • Excellent partner, client and team management skills
  • Experience in using
mixed methods in research and evaluation work
  • Experience of working for and reporting on publicly funded projects
  • Experience of undertaking public consultation including consultation with hard to reach groups
  • Experience of evaluating similar projects and activities
  • Experience of managing and monitoring project budgets
  • Experience of working with disabled and Deaf people

Knowledge and Skills
  • Understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methodology and appropriate application of each
  • Strong analytical ability
  • Excellent report writing skills
  • Educated to degree level or equivalent professional qualification
  • Computer literate with a basic understanding of using project management software
  • Knowledge of and experience in using statistical analysis software and qualitative analysis tools and software
  • Knowledge of the needs of disabled and Deaf people
  • Knowledge of social and industrial history or other relevant heritage
  • Knowledge of the local area

Interpersonal Skills
  • A good team player but also able to work on own initiative
  • Possession of good planning, organising and problem solving skills
  • Capable of maintaining a high output of work and keeping to deadlines
  • Good communication skills
  • Adaptable and creative

Particular Circumstances
  • Flexibility and availability; able to respond to the requirements of Living Options Devon and other stakeholders.

10.Appointment process

Please submit your CV and proposal to by
8th September 2017.

In the proposal, the Consultant should provide a response to this brief outlining:

  • your relevant experience and skills;
  • your approach to the work within the given timescale and budget;
  • confirming your availability to complete the work within the indicated timeframe
  • fees for completion of the work as outlined above;
  • the extent of professional insurance or indemnity cover;
  • 2 references for whom you have undertaken similar work, who you would be
    happy for us to contact; and
  • value for money: suggestions for maximising benefit of evaluation work.

In addition, it is essential that a full and concise CV is provided, describing the nature, extent and level of responsibilities held.

We may request a follow up meeting to discuss your proposal further.

The Consultant who appears from the information available to have the qualifications, experience and abilities which best match our requirements will be further considered for appointment. LOD’s decision is final. Enquiries into age, health and eligibility to work in the UK may be carried out, with other enquiries, including references, to ensure suitability for appointment.

The Consultant will be selected on the basis of:

  • Relevant skills and experience;
  • Understanding of the brief;
  • Quality of method statement and approach;

We aim to make a decision by 14th September 2017

For further information or guidance on this brief please contact Heather Brown

Telephone: 01392 459222