In Bristol the ASTF partnership is undertaking a joint Theory of Change in order to better record the impact of the voluntary advice sector on our society. We want to link this into the aims and objectives of our local JSNA which includes such things as homeless prevention, prevention of social isolation, increased community resilience and increase in well-being.
Showing how the advice sector impacts on delivering the local authorities aims and objectives in a measurable format - not just case studies is difficult. However, Bristol City Council, who are supportive of the sector are happy for us to develop new measures to fall within the existing KPI framework.To assist us we have introduced a generic CMS system ( with the exception of one CAB partner who could not change but will still work within the same format)
The reason we are doing this is to ensure a sustainable future for our sector. Our thinking is that, with further funding cuts on the cards, unless we can show a measurable impact to the local authority they are likely to divert funding to front line services to are able to show direct impact in attaining the Council's aims and objectives.
Part of the issue we are struggling with is that advice delivery is only "part" of the tool. Advice works best if it works hand in hand with other support services with whom we have developed links through training and reciprocal referrals.
Are any of the other ASTF partnerships looking at developing impact measurement tools? If so, what are they and how were they developed. We are happy to reciprocate with any information to assist other partnerships.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Mar 4, 2015 23:53:53 GMT
The whole question of demonstrating impact has to be considered as pivotal to the sector proving its worth.
It concerns me greatly that in the run up to election with the most punishing welfare reforms of all times the sector remains so muted. I wonder how this looks in the eyes of our clients and also to those that look to us as organisations for the evidence basis as to what is happening?
Without a voice which airs its discontent over the disgraceful treatment people are receiving, what does this say of our organisations? How on earth can we even begin to establish impact if we say nothing of the damage?
All too often, in the wake of recent gagging reforms, we are guided in to not being 'political'. Is it not being political to align ourselves with those who want us to be compliant and remain quiet? Is our silence worth the scraps of funding which are from time to time dished out to those who say so little and remain so well behaved? Surely such alignment is far more political than using our sector based knowledge and experience to effectively demonstrate how disgraceful these reforms are by pointing out how these policies fail to work and do so little to deliver anything of value in creating something better for our society?
What happened to the duty to be truthful?
As we remain silent, clients end up being hit harder than ever as a recent late night documentary on homelessness showed very effectively. Is it not neglecting our respective mission statements to remain so quiet when we purport to exist in order to protect and serve?
The worth of articulate 'balanced' academic studies showing how reforms are failing is completely lost on the average easily swayed Daily Mail reader. Like it or not, these are the citizens we need to get on side. If we are to prove our worth, we need to speak clearly of the very purpose of our existence, until such times as we do our impact on society diminishes before our very eyes. No voice, no purpose is how I'm sure many will see it.
Ultimately, unless we get to grips with the need to speak up we stand a real danger of our funders realising how easily we can be dispensed of as the next round of savage spending cuts approaches. We've done far too little to oppose the destruction we witness, it's playing right in to the hands of those who will use our current state of compliance against us when considering whether we are worthy of further funding.
What we should be doing is highlighting cases of serious injustice (of which there continues to be many) by taking the appropriate judicial action. Our results should justify the worth of our work. We should then make a noise as to the profound impact inflicted upon wholly innocent victims in society and return to our funders with measured quantities of similar cases which we were unable to complete through insufficient resourcing. If we intelligently record unmet need, our evidence as to the real source of the problems which we are tasked with solving will clearly show up.
Strikes me that if we loudly demonstrate who is creating the mess, it increases our prospects of being able to secure the right funding to sort it all out and even educate the polluters of pain as to better and more productive ways of reforming our once precious welfare state.
If it's wrong it needs to be put right; I fail to see how it's politically correct to maintain this deathly silence.