Where Are We Heading?

 by Andrew Callaghan, Knightstone Housing

It may sound straight forward but being able to answer the above question isn’t easy! Once you have the answer you can begin to implement an approach to impact measurement.

I have been working in my current role at Knightstone Housing for just over a year and one of my key responsibilities is measuring the social impact of our Individual and Community Empowerment team.

Over the last twelve months I have attended a number of courses on the subject including the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) course on Measuring Social Impact run in association with the new economics foundation (nef), which I would highly recommend.

There are so many resources and approaches to measuring impact, it was a real challenge to find an approach that fitted our requirements. Every organisation and almost all projects are slightly different to each other. My conclusion would be that there is no one approach or tool that you can take off the shelf and run with.

We worked with a consultant to create a report which looked at our current approach to impact measurement and recommendations for how we could embed an approach across our service. This gave a valuable insight from an external perspective. It outlined the lack of a common framework and methodology across the three teams within the service. It also made us re-assess what our long term aims were in order to be clear about what was important for us to measure. Finally, it was a reality check on the time and cost of implementing an approach using external expertise and tools.

Our chosen approach is all about measuring what is important to our stakeholders, spreading the collection of evidence evenly across all members of staff and being realistic about the number of outcome indicators we can collect data on. Our aim is to publish our first Annual Impact Report in May 2015.

Having set out a clear plan has brought about a clarity and energy to drive the project forward. It includes the different monitoring documents, milestones and outcomes we want from the project. Some of the deadlines for each stage are quite tight but the hope is that this will maintain the momentum built up during the project initiation stage.

Finally after a year of research and training seminars, I feel confident about our approach to impact measurement. There are still many hurdles to come along the way but we now know where we are heading, which in turn allows us to measure how close we are to our destination!!

A few of the resources which have been instrumental in creating our approach to impact measurement were:

Watch this space for updates as Andrew Callaghan’s journey continues.

Andrew Callaghan has been working in the housing sector for over two and a half years.  He is responsible for measuring the social impact of the Individual and Community Empowerment at Knightstone Housing. Interests include the use of Open Data, visualising/mapping data and social impact measurement. Based in Bristol, UK.

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