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Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it August 2014Contents: Foreword 03 Introduction 04 Part 1: Generating useful evidence 06 Part 2: Using evidence 16 Section 1: Using evidence 18 to influence internal policy and practice Section 2: Using evidence 22 to influence external policy and practice Section 3: Using evidence 34 to influence f unding and commissioning decisions Section 4: 10 Top tips to 39 use evidence for success Part 3: Additional resources 45 Resources for Part 1 46 Resources for Part 2 47 Useful websites 48 Acknowledgements 51 Glossary of terms 52 References 53Foreword The learning in this guide is based on the The Knowledge Translation Network (KTN) findings f rom this survey and f rom interviews was established in 2012 in response to an tha t were conducted with 25 of the key identified need to support the third sector stakeholders that are currently involved to maximise the impact of the knowledge in this area of work in S cotland, including and evidence they generate by ensuring it third sector service providers, funders, reaches Scotland’s service providers and policy makers and researchers. A f ull list of decision-makers. Running parallel to the these organisations has been included in the Scottish Third Sector Research Forum, the ‘ Acknowledgements’ section of this Guide. KTN has two key aims: (i) to share learning about effective knowledge translations This is the first in a series of resources that and (ii) to promote the use of evidence in will be produced by the KTN going f orward decision-making. and aims to provide organisations with the knowledge, skills and confidence to maximise This guide responds to a demand amongst the impact that evidence ca n have on policy third sector organisations for guidance on and practice. We would very much welcome how to use evidence to influence policy your views on both this guide and on other and practice. In summer 2013, the KTN resources that would be usef ul f or the sector. conducted an online survey amongst a range of organisations across Scotland to better understand how they currently generate a nd use evidence. Of the 67 organisations who responded to the survey, 53 noted that they need more support with using evidence to influence policy and practice, and highlighted tha t having an easy-to-use guide tha t identifies a nd supports organisa tions through the key steps of doing so would be of value to the sector. Joanna McLaughlin Patty Lozano-Casal Mark Meiklejohn Cath Logan Andrew Paterson Kirsten Thomlinson 3 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Introduction In a time of reduced public sector budgets Evidence has become a valuable currency. and increased demand f or services, there is Karen Indoo, Barnardo’s Scotland a growing need to ensure that an evidence- based approa ch is taken to developing policy and practice. The third sector pla ys a key Evidence can be a powerf ul tool f or role in delivering services that meet the influencing change and is one of the key needs of vulnerable communities and can 1 fea tures of ef fective policy-making . The make a valuable contribution to developing Oxf ord English D ictionary defines evidence the evidence-base about ‘ what works’ and as “the available body of f acts or information ‘ why’ when working with these groups. indica ting whether a belief or proposition Theref ore, it is vital that these organisations is true or valid.” This term ca n theref ore have the knowledge, skills and resources cover a wide spectrum, f rom the results they need to generate useful evidence about of randomised control trials to qualitative the work they do and use this evidence f eedback f rom service-users. What counts as to inform internal and external policy and ‘ useful evidence’ depends on its purpose; the practice. question the evidence is trying to answer; how it is going to be used, a nd in what environment (Nutley, 2013). 1 The Cabinet Office identify nine key features of effective policy-making, which include being: (i) forward looking; (ii) outward looking; (iii) innovative Good evidence is useful evidence It is and creative; (iv) evidence-based; (v) inclusive; (vi) information that can help a charity make joined up; (vii) regularly reviewed; (viii) regularly evaluated, and (ix) willing to learn from experiences better decisions, provide better services of what works and what does not. (Strategic Policy and raise standards. Making Team, Cabinet Office) Dr Jonathan Sharples, University of York 4 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Aims of the Guide Who is this Guide for? This guide aims to provide easy to f ollow, This guide is for anyone who wants to use step-by-step guidance and resources to evidence to improve policy and practice, support orga nisa tions to use evidence to regardless of the level of experience they influence policy and practice. The guide is have in doing so. Theref ore, it is intended split into three parts: that this guide will also be of value to a wide range of stakeholders including: Part 1 outlines how you can generate evidence that is releva nt, robust and practitioners persuasive to the stakeholders that you are service managers trying to influence. Although this guide is funders and commissioners prima rily a bout using evidence, this part policy makers and planners. of the guide helps to ensure you ha ve the Most importantly, the guide is a imed at quality of evidence you need to maximise ‘learning organisations’ who are committed your chances of influencing policy and to both sharing their evidence about ‘what practice. works’, ‘ what doesn’t work’ a nd ‘ why’ , and to Part 2 explores how this evidence can amending their own practices on the basis of then be used to influence (i) interna l policy this evidence. and practice; (ii) externa l policy and practice, and (iii) f uture f unding and commissioning decisions. It concludes by providing ‘ 10 top tips for using evidence for success’ . Part 3 identifies a ra nge of resources tha t you can access to help you achieve your goa ls. How you choose to use this guide will depend on what you want to use evidence to achieve and the stage you are in this process. While the guide can be read as a whole, each of the sections can also be read independently. At the end of each section there is also a tailored checklist that you can print out and consult. This guide also touches on the important area of evaluation. There is already a ra nge of resources dedicated to these topics so we have focussed our advice specifically on how evaluation relates to the use of evidence. If you f eel you would benefit f rom additiona l support a round evaluation, please see the ‘Resources’ section of this guide or contact Evaluation Support S cotland. 5 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Part 1: Generating useful evidence This part of the guide explores how you can generate evidence that is relevant, robust and persuasive to the stakeholders that you are trying to influence. By the end of this part, you will know how to: Gather data about your service Analyse the data you have collected Gather secondary data and evidence about your area of workMost organisations have a wealth of data Step 1: Gather data about what they do and who they work with. However, gathering that data and turning it about your work into the type of evidence that is persuasive to policy-makers, funders and practitioners can The last 10 years has seen a growth sometimes be challenging. It is important to in self-evaluation amongst third sector think about the type and quality of evidence organisations. Many third sector you’ll need to influence policy and practice organisations are now routinely gathering from an early stage and put a plan together data about their outcomes so they can to allow you to gather this. measure, understand and demonstrate their impact. Steven Marwick, Evaluation To have an impact on policy and practice Support Scotland you have to start from the theory of change; say what you’re trying to achieve, and leave In the KTN’s survey, 48 out of 57 strategic and systemic change for the end. You organisations (82%) highlighted tha t they must start from the point where you gather face challenges when gathering data and the evidence and ask yourself, what evidence evidence about their service. The most do I need to gather now to answer that final common reasons cited for this included: question and what is next? If you do not have that from the onset the whole thing falters. Staff not having enough time/ capa city to Jennifer Wallace, Carnegie UK Trust do so; Service users/ stakeholders not having To ma ximise your chances of influencing policy enough time to provide this data, and and practice, it is important that this evidence: Gathering data not being seen as a priority by the organisation or its staff. is robust, relevant and solves a problem uses an appropria te balance of As this is not a guide to eva lua tion, we can’ t quantitative and qualitative data address all of these challenges here but we draws from a wide range of available data have included a list of resources where you can is up to date, timely and makes use of access support with these issues in ‘ Part 3’ . current data However, despite these challenges, it is demonstrates the efficacy of your approa ch important to remember that organisations can is clear, reasonable and doesn’t overcla im and do gather data and evidence about their is honest about its limita tions. work and use it to influence policy and pra ctice. If we are going to interfere in peoples’ lives through new services, we need a clear evidence base to show that it will be to their benefit. Producing a statement of challenges or needs is not a reason to take any particular action; we need a good explanation of how the proposed approach will work including the delivery mechanism and practical steps leading to change and improvement. Also, it needs to take account of local factors as all change is local. Geoff Huggins, Scottish Government 7 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it How many people 30,576 visited the maze last month? Fantastic result Ask the right questions Identifying what data you need As an organisation we have a strong to collect theory of change and this provides a really beneficial framework for examining the B efore collecting data about your service, evidence needs for each of our programmes make sure you are clea r about the questions in more depth. As a result, we are able to you are trying to answer and what data you focus on a number of key questions and will need to collect to allow you to do so. provide learning that is specifically focused Thinking about this a t an early stage will on these areas rather than undertaking a help to ensure tha t the process is as easy as wide variety of general research. possible and that you are able to collect the Neil Mathers, Save the Children data you need. Once you have your pla n, it will be easier B egin by considering wha t situa tion your to identify the types of data that you’ll need service aims to address a nd then identify to gather to understand and demonstrate if the inputs, outputs and outcomes that will the service is a chieving its desired outcome. be required to achieve the desired change. For each input, output and outcome you Using a pla nning tool, such as a logic model, have identified in your planning tool, a sk can provide a useful way to work through yourself how you will know these have taken each of these stages and ca n also help you pla ce and what data you will need to collect to understand if and how each of these to evidence this. These are called your stages link together. indica tors. B y a pproaching data collection in this way, you will also ensure that all the data you collect (i.e. primary data) will be used to answer specific questions, and that you are not wa sting time and resources gathering data tha t has no usef ul purpose. 8 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Ma ke sure you collect data a bout your The best reports are clear and concise outcomes as well as your inputs a nd and have a good mix of qualitative and activities. For example, if you want to quantitative data. A real mix of the hard improve the lives of young people with evidence with case studies but all focused multiple support needs, it is insufficient to on the impact that you’ve had. only record the number of young people Kevin Geddes, Health and Social Care who engage with your service. Instead, you Alliance Scotland (The ALLIANCE) should aim to collect data on some or all of the f ollowing: the number of young people Gathering this data ca n have implications who engage with the service; the support on your time and budget, so it is important needs of each young person; the activities tha t you pla n ahead and allocate sufficient your service undertook to address these resources. Think about the range of methods needs; how much they cost; any outcomes you will need to use to collect this data achieved as a result of these activities, a nd including surveys or f ace-to-face f eedback. how you know these were achieved. If you are undertaking this work interna lly, you may want to consider whether your Outputs are great - to have reams and orga nisation needs any training to do so. reams of evidence on what somebody’s done - but what we’re ultimately interested in is how effective these outputs have been. You need to be able to evidence that and use your data to demonstrate the benefit that your service has had. That’s the sort of thing we’re looking for. David Berry, Scottish Government Most organisations who responded to the KTN survey reported gathering a mixture of both quantitative data and qualitative data: Quantitative data tells us about what happened, where and when, and to whom. It ca n include information about inputs (e.g. the cost of your service), activities (e.g. numbers of training courses delivered) or outcomes (e.g. the number of people who stop smoking). Qualitative data helps us to identif y the factors or reasons affecting behaviour – the ‘ how’ and ‘ why’ . The term ‘ qualitative’ is also used to describe information relating to ‘ sof t’ outcomes, such as increased confidence. 9 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it ... and every time I dig 10 metres, someone wins the lottery Make sure you can claim attribution While your pla nning tool will help you to Step 2: Analyse understand how your service’s inputs a nd outputs link to your intended outcomes, it is the data you have important to rea lise tha t there may also be inputs a nd outputs outwith your service that collected have impacted on these outcomes. In order to understand wha t your data If I’m looking for an evidence base to means you need to analyse and interpret undertake a type of programme or an it. It may be helpful to go back to the plan activity, I will want to understand the model you created at the start of your project and for change that shows the relation between check whether the da ta you have collected the inputs and the outcome. There will be indica tes tha t your service’s outputs and other co-occurring factors in play in any test outcomes have taken place as pla nned. of change and its important to be able to Regardless of whether they have or they demonstrate that we are seeing causality not have not, the next step is to understand why just correlation. this is the case. Geoff Huggins, Scottish Government Analysis is a vital stage in helping your While it may not be possible to control organisation to understand which parts of or isolate these external factors, bef ore your service have worked, which parts have attributing a specific outcome to your service not worked and most importantly, ‘ why’ . a good evaluation should seek to (i) identify any relevant external factors and (ii) consider Identifying the internal and what impact they may have had on your outcomes. Asking a critical friend to look at external factors that may have your findings can help with this process. impacted on your outcomes Outside of a science la bora tory, it is very ra re that anything ever happens in a vacuum. Therefore, when ana lysing your data , it is critical to consider what fa ctors might have impacted on your outcomes. 10 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Getting external help to analyse There’s an element of training which is data required for this - it is a specialised task. There are a lot of academics who have In the KTN survey, the majority of spent years training in evaluation to organisations stated that they f eel confident understand what the evidence says. Yet in a na lysing the data tha t they collect but 17 we’re expecting people to do it. They either out of 54 organisations (33%) highlighted need to buy expertise or you need to give tha t they can find this process cha llenging. them a lot of training. Catherine Bisset, Scottish Government Key reasons cited f or this include: To help you with this, you may want to time constraints use a n external agency to gather data on lack of skills in this area a specific project you have undertaken lack of support and advice a bout how to or to help you analyse the data you have analyse data. gathered. Another option might be to consider whether an intern could be used 30 out of 49 organisations (61%) also stated to undertake this piece of work. However, tha t they don’ t believe the evidence from as noted above, evidence f rom external self-evaluations a re seen a s robust or as evaluations is not necessa rily a ny more persuasive to f unders and policy-makers robust or persuasive than evidence f rom as evidence f rom external evaluations. internal evaluations so if you decide to However, discussions with f unders and commission an organisation to undertake this policy-makers reveal that, provided they work on your behalf , it is important that you are properly undertaken, evidence f rom fully research them first and are confident self-evaluations is seen to be as valuable tha t they have the necessary skills and and persuasive as evidence f rom external experience to do so. It is also important that evaluations. you identif y the specific research questions tha t you want the evaluation to address a nd Have a little bit of faith in the work you’re communicate these to the organisation you producing and the work you’re doing. I commission to undertake this work. You may completely understand that people want find it helpful to go to ESS’s webpages on that external validation but actually if self-evaluation a nd online course on how to you’re doing good evaluation, using solid get the best f rom external evaluation. tools, and are able to justify the results that you get, then you should also be confident about the impact that you’re making. Kevin Geddes, The ALLIANCE While conducting a n evaluation requires a certain level of time, skills and resources, any third sector organisa tion can do self- evaluation well with some support. However, generating evidence from evaluations that you can use to influence policy and practice can sometimes be more difficult. 11 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it External evaluations can also be expensive Step 3: Gather so it is important you plan f or this and where appropria te, speak to your f unders about secondary data/ building these costs into your service’s budget. Like you, funders want to know the evidence about your dif ference you a re making as a result of your work. S upporting you to collect relevant area of work information to evidence that difference is important to them. D epending on your Secondary data is a ny data tha t has been capacity, you may a lso want to consider generated by someone other than yourself developing rela tionships with a cademics a nd or your organisation. Most organisa tions will working in partnership with them to ana lyse struggle to generate enough data themselves your data . to draw robust conclusions about the impact of their work. It is theref ore important that Universities get assessed every 5 years or you consider how your findings relate and so and part of this assessment now looks compare to any other relevant data/ evidence. at the wider impact that university research If your evidence is supported by a wider body is making, which means that there’s a of evidence it will a lso carry more weight when real incentive for researchers to work with you come to use it, and will be more likely to external organisations and individuals, help you to influence policy and practice. including in the third sector. In this sense, it’s a good time for people working in the Clearly, if you can link your individual third sector who are seeking to draw on findings to what others have found there’ll academic support in gathering or analysing be more weight behind them and, as you’ll evidence - if you can find someone in a be talking about more than one study, they local university who has an interest in the will be more difficult for people to dismiss. issue your organisation is concerned with It’s about showing how your findings fit then they may well be willing to help. with an existing body of work. Prof Sandra Dr Katherine Smith, University of Nutley, University of St Andrews Edinburgh Even where your orga nisation generates its own evidence, you might find it helpful to consider evidence tha t has been produced by other organisations if you wa nt to ma ximise your chances of influencing policy a nd practice. B y gathering secondary data you will keep up to date with new statistics or studies about your area of work, learn what other orga nisations have found to work, and gain a better understanding of the context in which your own work is taking place. D epending on the policy area and the context in which you are working you might find it helpful to gather secondary data produced in other countries other tha n Scotland and the rest of the UK. 12 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Ma ny organisations find accessing secondary Accessing secondary data data challenging. While, on some occasions, this may be because the type of data they There are a wide range of sources of are looking for either does not exist or has seconda ry data including statistical bulletins, not been ma de ava ilable to the public, the aca demic studies, online journals, project main reasons organisations gave for this in evaluations and reports published by third the KTN survey were: sector and public sector organisations. While you may need a subscription or membership They don’t know where to look; to access certain sources of secondary data Gathering a wide range of data can be (e.g. aca demic journals) the va st majority of expensive and time-consuming, and sources can be accessed for free. Other third I t is dif ficu lt to te ll wh ich se co n da r y da ta is sector organisations can be a key source of the most reliable/ appropriate. seconda ry data a nd you shouldn’ t under- estimate the value of the evidence that It depends on the purpose of the research you can get f rom your peers, or the impact as to what data we’ll use. We make use that this evidence can have when used of a range of primary research methods, collaboratively. While the best resources to including surveys, interviews and focus access will depend on your area of work and group type discussions, to gather evidence the type of data you are looking for, a f ew directly from practitioners about ‘what websites in the ‘Resources’ section might works’. We also use evidence from help. elsewhere (e.g. evaluations that have been published, inspection reports, literature Don’t think you have to go to a library and reviews and other pieces of research) to search the evidence base yourself because inform briefing papers and consultation that’s a big job to do. Try and find other responses. people who’ve done reviews in the area Laura Mulcahy, Criminal Justice you’re interested in and use intermediaries Voluntary Sector Forum like our organisation. Dr Sarah Morton, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships 13 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Drawing data from a wide range of sources While it can sometimes be tempting to work closely with Community Planning only focus on da ta that supports your own Partnerships a nd other stakeholders over the findings, try to draw secondary data f rom as next 3 years to find, create, evalua te and wide a range of sources as possible. This will communicate the evidence of what works help to increase your knowledge of your area in delivering the Scottish model of public of interest as well as enabling you to make service delivery. For more information visit: better judgements about whether certain data http://whatworksscotla nd.a c.uk/ is reliable or not. For example, it will help you to identif y where one source of data is very ’What Works’ Centres are quite a new dif ferent from other data you have read and initiative, even in England. I think that consider why this might be the case. there are probably pockets of information around that need to be addressed. In Secondary data is crucial and I suppose England they’ve probably pulled together you can say it’s a gut judgement on of all of the evidence produced by different what’s reliable. If you’re trying to prove sectors into a very clear place for people that a particular area is deprived, national to go to for evidence, the “what works” statistics like census statistics are centres. It will be good to have that in wonderful because they’re done by the Scotland too. Carolyn Sawers, Big chief statistician, making them very, very Lottery Fund Scotland hard to refute. David Griffiths, Ecas A useful way of both identif ying other It is a lso important to ensure tha t the sources of secondary data and determining seconda ry data you are accessing is as up how reliable a nd releva nt they are to your to date as possible so you are not basing needs is to engage with other stakeholders decisions on data that is now out of date. and discuss as a group. Networks and forums Accordingly, it is important that your can off er a valuable space f or discussions organisation allocates suf ficient time to and provide an opportunity f or organisations reading and keeping up to data with relevant to discuss both prima ry and secondary data seconda ry data that is being published. in a n open and collaborative environment. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) f unded What Works Centres are one of the key pla ces to go f or secondary evidence, a nd one of their core f unctions is to produce and apply a common currency f or comparing the effectiveness of dif ferent interventions. A number of centres have been setup across the UK as part of this programme of work including Wha t Works Scotla nd, which was launched in June 2014. Led by the Universities of Gla sgow and Edinburgh, What Works Scotla nd will 14 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Checklist Here is a quick checklist f or you to consider when you want to generate usef ul evidence that will be persuasive to policy makers and practitioners: Identify the question you want to use your evidence to answer. Create a plan that outlines your service’s inputs, outputs and outcomes. Consider how you will measure outcomes a nd identif y the data that you’ll collect at ea ch stage to understand if these are taking pla ce as pla nned. Analyse your data and identif y any trends/ patterns. Consider whether any external factors ma y have impacted on your outcomes. Consider how your evidence links into other evidence people ha ve produced. Draw secondary data from a wide evidence base. Look at a number of robust studies, which have f ound very strong and consistent results. Consider all evidence – not only those findings which support your argument. Engage with other stakeholders and discuss your findings. 15 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Part 2: How to use evidence to influence policy and practice This part of the guide combines advice from third sector service providers, policy-makers, academics, funders and commissioners about how to use the evidence you have generated to influence policy and practice. It is split into four sections: Section 1: Using evidence to influence internal policy and practice Section 2: Using evidence to influence external policy and practice Section 3: Using evidence to influence funding and commissioning decisions Section 4: 10 tops tips for using evidence for successThe successful implementation of an 53 out of 54 organisations (98%) who outcome focussed approach to public responded to the KTN survey stated that services needs good data and information policy and practice should be based on to improve decision making, reduce the evidence to ensure that the best use of likelihood of wasteful expenditure and available resources is made and that future improve the evaluation and learning of service provision is informed by learning which approaches are effective. from ‘what works’, ‘for whom’ and ‘why’. SOLACE Scotland The organisations reported using evidence in a number of ways, including: (i) to improve their own services; (ii) to influence future decisions, and (iii) to inform future policy and practice within the area they work. The sets of steps needed to achieve these goa ls are outlined in the first three sections of this part of the guide. The fina l section off ers some final tips f rom stakeholders who have had success in this a rea. Funders Policy makers Time to share my evidence Public Sharing evidence 17 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Section 1: How to use evidence to influence internal policy and practice This section of the guide explores how to use evidence to influence policy and practice within your own organisation. By the end of this section, you will know how to: Identify the problem you want to address within your organisation and how evidence can help you to do so Identify and communicate with your internal stakeholders Understand when there is a need to try something new and innovativeOnce you have identified this problem you In the KTN survey, one of the most then need to ask yourself : common reasons organisations gave for using evidence was to better understand 1. D oes my evidence indicate how this the impact that their services are having problem can be addressed? so they can ensure they are of maximum 2. Is there enough capacity within the benefit to their service users. This section organisation to implement these changes? explores how you can use evidence to 3. D o others within my team have the right influence your internal stakeholders and skills to apply the evidence into practice? improve policy and practice within your 4. Can I communicate this evidence to other own organisation. people within my organisation in a way tha t is relevant and persua sive? Step 1: Identify the 5. Have I made clear what changes are needed within my organisation based on problem you want this evidence and made a convincing case for doing so? to address 6. Are there tools in place to assess and evaluate the amended service? In order to use evidence to improve internal policy and practice, you first have to identify It is a lso important to remember that the problem that you want to address. For adapting your service based on what example, does your service have a low evidence suggests will work will not engagement or high drop-out rate? Are some automatically give you improved outcomes. service users achieving better outcomes Other internal and external f actors can tha n others? Is your organisation making the influence whether or not the service is impact that it wants to make in your local successf ul, such as the environment in community? which the service is being embedded. B efore you use evidence to adapt your services, It works best when it starts from a practical it is therefore important to think about the need, when it is led by an issue that people challenges you might f ace a nd discuss these want something to be done about and with your colleagues. not done for the sake of it, like they are told to. It works with the practical issues that people are faced with. There are a lot of options and evidence can be used in a number of things. Therefore, it can be a really useful thing to inform decision making, in any organisation. Dr Jonathan Sharples, University of York 19 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it Step 2: Step 3: Identify Communicate your when you need to evidence to internal try something new stakeholders In the KTN’s survey, a number of organisations noted that there is not always If you want to influence change within your conclusive evidence about ‘what works’ organisation it is vital that you are able to when addressing the needs of vulnerable identify those internal stakeholders who groups. On these occasions, organisations have the power to influence or implement highlight that there may be a need to take this change and communicate your evidence an innovative – opposed to purely evidence- in a way tha t is releva nt to them. These based approa ch when developing and stakeholders are likely to include your delivering new services. This may include service users; other members of staff a nd piloting a service within their own community volunteers; your senior management team, tha t has had positive results in a nother part and your trustees. of the world, or designing a new service based on feedback from service users. B y It can sometimes be dif ficult for staff who building evaluation into any new services work directly with service users - and see they pilot, organisations also highlight the progress they are making first-hand - to tha t this approa ch can help to develop the look objectively at their service and question evidence base about ‘what works’ and ‘what whether it can be improved. Similarly, doesn’ t work’ in a n area. management staff , who a re a step removed f rom the delivery side of the service, may When developing a new and innovative find it difficult to understand why changes service, it is advisable to: are needed if the service is generally producing positive outcomes. Collecting a nd 1. Identify wha t the existing evidence using evidence about ‘ what is working’ , ‘ wha t suggests might work and might not work is not working’ and ‘ why’ can help you to in this area. address both of these challenges. 2. Speak to your service users about wha t they think is needed. If you’re involved with running a service, 3. D e ve lop a pilot ba se d on the evide nce you you’re there on the ground and are have gathered f rom your service users immersed in what the service does and and external sources. how it does it. However, we also need to 4. Test your pilot on a small scale and build get our colleagues across the board to see in monitoring and evaluation so you know what our service providers are seeing. To whether it achieves its intended outcomes. do this we have to support them to gather Remember if something doesn’t work then information in a formalised way and help this is useful learning too as long as you staff to understand the benefits of doing so. explore why. Alison McIntyre, Barnardo’s Scotland 5. Explore how successf ul elements of the service ca n be expa nde d upon or rolle d out to other areas or groups of service users. 20 Evidence for Success The guide to getting evidence and using it