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End-point evaluation of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST) – final report

Findings, conclusions and recommendations from our evaluation of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team

UK-PHRST was formally launched in November 2016, as a partnership between Public Health England (PHE) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), with Oxford University and King’s College London as part of the broader academic consortium. UK-PHRST have a triple mandate to ‘integrate outbreak response, innovative research to generate evidence on best practices for outbreak control, and capacity building for outbreak response in ODA-eligible countries’.

Through this mandate, UK-PHRST are expected to contribute to the UK’s Global Health Security (GHS) priorities: that is, to countries’ – in particular, lower- and middle-income countries’ (LMICs’) – capacity to successfully prevent, detect early and effectively respond to threats related to infectious disease outbreaks.
Itad has been contracted by UK-PHRST to conduct an external performance evaluation and independent monitoring (PE&IM) of the programme from inception in late 2016 until April 2021.

The purpose of the evaluation is to ensure independent monitoring and quality assurance of programme delivery, documentation of lessons learned, and robust tracking of results, providing assessment of the effectiveness of official development assistance (ODA) funds. The PE&IM has consisted of two main phases:

  1. A mid-point evaluation was conducted between September 2019 and August 2020, to generate learning and support adaptive management during the current phase of the programme.
  2. An end-point evaluation that took place between September 2020 and April 2021 has been timed to capture as much implementation of the current phase as possible, and hence support accountability. Findings, conclusions and recommendations generated by this evaluation, however, are expected to be useful also in the design and implementation of future phases of the programme.

This is the revised end-point evaluation report, based on data collection and analysis carried out between September and November 2020, including 74 key informant interviews (KIIs) conducted with UK-PHRST and their stakeholders. The report has been revised upon reception of feedback from UK-PHRST, and
following a ‘co-creation of recommendations’ workshop that took place in February 2021. The report presents findings, conclusions and recommendations from the three evaluation workstreams:

  • Workstream 1 focusing on design,
  • Workstream 2 on implementation and
  • Workstream 3 on performance issues.