Our Work

We guarantee to provide to our  clients analysis and strategic advice based on the best possible evidence and methodologies. We work across the areas of business ethics, social value measurement, wellbeing analysis, data science and impact evaluation, behavioural science and survey design. We only use internationally-endorsed methods as set out in guidance produced by the OECD and governments globally and we have written and contributed to many of these guidelines.
Business Ethics

Organisations that understand their values are better placed to handle ​ issues such as diversity and inclusion and environmental responsibility ​. Using our deep understanding of business and policy ethics and philosophy we give organisations the processes and tools to assess their strategy and values and frameworks to benchmark their ethical performance.  

Impact Evaluation

Causal inference – the task of estimating cause and effect relationships – is critical to policy evaluation and social impact analysis. We work at the forefront of econometrics, statistics and data science to ensure our statistical research is scientifically rigorous. We have advised OECD governments on their approach to understanding and measuring impact.

Social Value Measurement

Valuation converts impacts from a range of outcomes on to a single measure, allowing for effective comparisons of interventions. We are pioneers in valuation and have developed and applied best practice techniques such as wellbeing valuation and contingent valuation across a range of areas.

Wellbeing Analysis

Understanding what wellbeing is and measuring it and its drivers is an important step to assessing the potential impact of future projects and to ensuring organisations make a positive and sustainable impact on society. We have developed techniques for measuring wellbeing and its drivers at local and national levels, allowing us to advise organisations on the most effective strategies for improving wellbeing.

Behavioural Science

Developing effective approaches to changing behaviour requires working with, rather than against, people’s natural responses. We provide clients with insights into behavioural trends, allowing organisations to understand how they can positively shift people’s behaviour.

Survey Design

Getting robust evidence often requires development of effective and robust surveys. Our team have published academically on aspects of survey design and apply this research to ensure our work for clients is rigorous.

Best-Practice Guidance

Simetrica-Jacobs has developed best-practice guidance on valuation and impact evaluation for governments and sector bodies. We developed many of the social value approaches in use today by the UK Government and public sector organisations across the OECD.

Training

Simetrica-Jacobs provides training based upon our expertise across ethics, social value measurement and impact evaluation. Our staff lecture at the London School of Economics and the University of Cambridge and we also provide training to the UK Government Economic Service and private sector.

The philosophy of policy evaluation and social impact

Measuring impact and outcomes

Valuing outcomes

Philosophy

Philosophy is a key aspect of evaluation. Here we are referring to normative ethics, which looks at general moral questions such as ‘what is socially good and valuable?’ and ‘what should organisations do for society?’ This guides our thinking about what it is that is important to society and in turn, it determines what it is we should measure when evaluating policies and social impact. 

The main policy evaluation and social impact measurement tools and frameworks in use today include:

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA)

Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA)

Social accounting

Cost-utility analysis (CUA)

Social return on investment (SROI)

Multi-criteria analysis (MCA)

These methods are based on different philosophical foundations and so it is key to use the one that best fits with an organisation’s objectives.

We have experience and expertise in all forms of social impact analysis and policy evaluation.

An important aspect of our work is to develop the right philosophical approach for our client organisations that aligns with their organisational objectives and values because there is no one-size-fits-all solution to social impact and policy evaluation.

Measuring

Causal inference – the task of estimating cause and effect relationships – is of utmost importance to policy evaluation and social impact analysis because we need to understand whether our interventions have impacted on the outcomes of interest.

There are two fundamental approaches to causal inference. The Rubin Model is based on the concept of counterfactual outcomes. It compares what did happen against what would have happened anyway in the absence of the programme or intervention (the counterfactual).

The Campbell Approach instead looks at ‘statistical threats’ that would prevent us from concluding whether a relationship that we observe between an intervention and an outcome has a causal interpretation.

Our approach to causal inference is unique because we combine methods from both frameworks in order to find the optimal approach for our clients given the data available. This allows for great flexibility in our approach.

Our statistical research is scientifically rigorous and we regularly publish our research in leading academic journals as well as advise OECD governments on statistical methods for policy evaluation.

Valuation

Valuation is the process of converting impacts from a divergent range of outcomes on to a single measure or metric. This allows for comparisons of the effectiveness of different interventions in a consistent and systematic way and it is core to social value measurement – valuing outcomes tells us how much they are worth to society.

Valuation can be monetary or non-monetary and it will depend on which social impact framework is employed (monetary valuation is required for CBA and SROI, whereas CUA and MCA use non-monetary valuation techniques).

We are pioneers in the field of valuation and have written guidelines that have become the core of the HM Treasury Green Book guidance manual, the OECD valuation guidelines (2018), as well as guidelines issued by the Governments of Australia (2017) and New Zealand (2019). We have extensive experience in measuring monetary and non-monetary (QALY) values through preference methods, such as contingent valuation and discrete choice models, and through wellbeing valuation methods using the most up to date best-practice in the field. We have undertaken research on valuation in a wide range of areas including housing, community investment, nutrition, health, sports, international development, construction and infrastructure, transport, volunteering, employment, education, crime and arts and culture. 

Our research on valuation is at the forefront of the field and many of the current social value approaches in use today by the UK Government and public sector organisations across the OECD were developed by us.