Indicate® is helping projects throughout the UK to gather robust evidence of the significant difference they make in order to improve performance, report to key stakeholders and secure funding. Have a look at what they have to say about how Indicate® has helped them to secure a future for their project.
ABOUT HALL AITKEN
Set up in 1988, Hall Aitken offer services specialising in evidence-based practice, evaluation, communicating and helping embed learning. We have a particular understanding of approaches to engage the 'hard-to-reach'.
We have offices in Glasgow, Manchester and London. Hall Aitken can offer you a total support package. We inform national and regional policy, shape delivery and demonstrate value for national and area-wide programmes that help people and communities.
We support multi-agency partnerships and we help increase sustainable returns on investment. Our strength is in community regeneration, sport and physical activity, wellbeing, employability and enterprise. Our business plan projects growth across the UK over the next few years. We strive to do things that deliver above our clients expectations.
Just some of the organisations we are supporting through Indicate® to measure their outcomes and demonstrate the impact their organisation is making to the people and communities they work with.
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Enterprising Leeds focuses on raising the profile of enterprise and increasing self-employment rates in the city. It aims to narrow the gap between the most disadvantaged people and communities in Leeds and the rest of the city. Building on learning from past initiatives in Leeds and elsewhere the team provides a mix of stimulation, coaching, hands-on start-up assistance and follow up support.
Faced with demands from funders like the City Council and ERDF the team was already tracking its activity. But the next challenge was to develop a clearer picture of progress towards outcomes and true impacts. Using the Indicate service to do this meant a half day workshop for the full team, follow up meetings, extensive phone and email support, customised tools and concise reporting.
Amrit Choda of the Enterprising Leeds team said:
"Indicate has proven to be a valuable vehicle for the LCC Enterprise Support to validate the ERDF implementation process. The LCC Enterprise Support Team and the Enterprising Leeds, have found the indicate self-evaluation process beneficial to all concerned. Being able to get continued support as and when required via the designated Indicate officer, has made the self evaluation process a productive way of learning.
"The Indicate officer was approachable and helped clarify problem points in a concise and informative manner.
"The self-evaluation process has helped untangle various tangents regarding the ERDF project, its delivery processes and the stakeholders concerned. It has also ensured we aim to discuss an exit plan for this particular scheme, with potential to use the evaluation findings as a learning tool when approaching new funding schemes.
"This method of self-evaluation can now be transferred to other externally funded projects and can be utilised to measure impact being made. The experiences acquired during this initial process can be fine tuned for the next externally funded projects being evaluated".
Building Change Trust
Northern Ireland, 2011
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Building Change Trust aims to build a strong, vibrant, independent and relevant community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland that is open to new ideas and ways of working. They hope to build a sector that will:
Be more effective and make best use of resources
Advocate and drive positive change based on sound evidence
Collaborate in pursuit of agreed aims
Contribute to a shared, inclusive and outward looking Northern Ireland
The key output of our work was setting an agreed aim for the organisation and confirming the key short, medium and long term outcomes for the programme as a whole. The projects took part in workshops and then received their own clear outcomes and indicators to help them track their progress. They each established a clear action plan that together with the indicators will enable the BCT to report on the outcomes of its funding and be clear on the impact it will have.
The steering group are now more confident that they can be more proactive in work with partners. We found that the projects are clearer on what the programme, key stakeholders and they themselves expect to see as a result of their activities and services. They are more confident in what they are doing and on how they will report their successes; more able to see opportunities for collaborative work; and able to put in place a consistent system for tracking progress.
Support to Active England
Sport England, 2003-08
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Active England was a major £100 million Sport England programme that aimed to increase the engagement of young people and others in sport. It funded 241 innovative projects across England to explore the relationship between physical activity and wellbeing. Sport England asked us to help change the culture of organisations and encourage them to self-evaluate.
We supported projects through a series of interactive guides, one-to-one support, training, and learning workshops. Our work concluded with an overall programme evaluation. We helped projects through self-evaluation put together logical frameworks to collect indicators that together measured progress towards outcomes. These findings and others are hosted on the Active England Learning Zone http://www.aelz.org These. findings and others have subsequently been adopted in a number of related projects, including the Well-Being Portfolio of The Big Lottery Fund.
Following publication of our final report, we were invited to present our findings to MPs sitting on the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport as part of the difference that The Big Lottery funds are making on the lives of excluded people.
Premier League 4 Sport
The Premier League/Youth Sport Trust, 2010-11
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The Premier League 4 Sport initiative involves 20 Premier League teams and the governing bodies of badminton, volleyball, judo and table tennis. It aims to engage 30,000 children and young people in the four Olympic sports. It is especially targeting hard-to-reach-groups including girls, older teenage boys and disabled young people. The Premier League brand initiates interest in the programme and piggybacks interest onto the wider range of sports.
We are supplying clubs and the Premier League club co-ordinators with self-evaluation tools and guidance to collect and report data on key performance indicators that help track progress towards outcomes. We have developed guides that allow for the clubs and the co-ordinators to build capacity and understanding of self-evaluation. An addition to our Indicate type support is our InForm tool. We have developed a website where data is collated and analysed and which provides regular news bulletins featuring examples of best practice. All Premier League Clubs are encouraged to select their own evaluation tools and supply regular quantitative data. But also, with our support, the clubs are now using Most Significant Change (MSC) as a way of adding richness and context to their evaluations. MSC is an effective method of identifying unexpected outcomes by clarifying the real change the programme is making, programmes to share knowledge and enjoy a rich understanding of what they are achieving.
Sport England is using the ongoing findings from Premier League 4 Sport activities to feed into the design of other projects.
Way of Life
Big Lottery Fund, 2007-2012
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The Big Lottery Fund in Wales announced an initiative that would support children's play, promote healthy eating and greater activity by children using a family approach. The Way of Life is one of two programmes to come from the initiative. WOL encorporates 14 pilot projects which have been supported to develop approaches across three themes.
We conducted initial research to identify models that projects should use. This involved convening experts in the field to explore existing evidence and approaches. We helped applicants put their bids and business plans together to put forward to funders. We provide support to projects to enable them to establish the true outcomes of their interventions. We have developed a range of tools to promote self evaluation among projects and to strengthen local partnership working. At a programme level, we are comparing the impact of different approaches and themes to identify what works well and what does not work so well. Our contract has now been extended to include an overall programme evaluation.
We developed a website www.bigwayoflife.com and a suite of web based tools, supported by a programme of regular visits and project workshops.
Our research has identified the need for holistic approaches to the issue of Healthy Eating, as projects with direct links to mainstream services in education and health have fared well. Partnerships have been strengthened as a direct result of our Partnership Assessment Tool, which has enabled projects to identify internal strengths and weaknesses and to track changes in these over time.
Evelyn Oldfield Unit
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Again as an addition to our Indicate package we offered The Evelyn Oldfield Unit a practical online tool to support Refugee and Migrant Community Organisations (RMCOs) to:
Build on existing monitoring and evaluation
capture baseline statistics
capture longer term outcomes
identify impact on wider community
This was a developed version of our InProgress tool. This tool was required as a way of RMCOs proving to funders and policy makers the value of their services. It will help the Evelyn Oldfield Unit to look at their support needs and help in developing training, guidance and other resources to meet their needs. There are five sections to this tool each of which relates to a leading practice them. Each section has a 'worksheet' for entering information. Each themed section has five categories linked to that theme. For each category a project will select the statement from a drop-down box that best matches your current situation.
This tool will help projects to highlight progress in delivering community impact and outcomes. It will help to identify areas that may need prioritised and suggest actions that will help a project to make progress. It will also allow projects to measure their own progress over time.
In addition to these projects we are supporting a number of other organisations with Indicate. Indicate for programmes or one of our extra services from our InAddition package of tools and resources. These include:
Swindon Borough Council
East Ayrshire Council
Scottish Mentoring Network
YMCA Outcomes Measurement
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The objectives for this project were to develop a set of shared metrics and service delivery outputs that can be used collectively to measure quantitative impact across three YMCAs in London and a wide range of programme areas. We were also asked to develop a set of shared wellbeing outcome indicators that enable 3 YMCAs to measure the qualitative impact of their work with beneficiaries and their communities. We developed a monitoring and evaluation toolkit that will act as a resource to support the organisation and their staff to understand and implement the outcomes methodology. The toolkit will be a simple and flexible resource that provides information relating to the monitoring system, its method and includes resources to support data collection and cost/benefit analysis of both soft and hard outcomes.
At the YMCA workshop participants identified the consequences of not having effective monitoring. These focused on:
Getting left behind
Less satisfaction among users
Service delivery weakening
Funding being scaled back
Having robust information to report on is essential. To report on impact of the services we developed a reporting tool that reflected the need to balance robustness with the practical limits of time and resources. It is better to gather good information about a small number of things than to try to gather lots and do it poorly. The principle of the reporting tool is that everything that goes into it is used in the report - so it is completely transparent. It can provide information for an individual project or location, or across an entire YMCA.