Apologies in advance as this is bound to be a familiar topic. I couldn't
find anything in the recent archives, however, so here goes!
A colleague and I are trying to put together a paper for our Library
Management Team on measuring activities for social inclusion. We have our
own ideas on how we feel this is going to have to develop, but thought it
would be interesting to see whether other authorities have developed
mechanisms for doing this.
We already collect hard data, and have reports we can utilise (probably
better) from our Library Management System. Combined with that, the
community profiles we are developing for the 19 community areas in Wiltshire
should lead our SMART planning system down the right road for social
inclusion for each community. A 6 monthly report mixing both these sorts of
data would show a certain amount... but not the real picture of impact.
For particular events (e.g. children's activities, reader's groups, VIP
coffee mornings etc) it could be feasible to ask people to fill in
evaluation forms, but I can't personally say I think this is ideal as you
could have people filling in a form for virtually everything all the time
"how did it make you feel?". Not to mention the problems of the form itself
being socially exclusive (language etc).
Obviously the most important thing to measure is impact, but it strikes me
that this could take years to show in some cases (a lot of hard work on a
geographically socially excluded area) whereas the report idea suggested
above should show intent and action. Not ideal... but...
Any ideas or suggestions on how you measure impact in your authority would
be much appreciated.
Many thanks for your help.
Wiltshire Libraries and Information
"There are worse things than words, you know,
but you wouldn't believe it to hear some people talk."
('Growing Up, Growing Down' by The Blue Aeroplanes, 1991)