Using SROI in libraries - AIRS lecture


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Lecture given at AIRS lecture series, Aberystwyth, 23rd Nov 2011. Describes the Libraries for Life strategy and how SROI was used to evaluate impact on two elements of the strategy.

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Using SROI in libraries - AIRS lecture

  1. 1. Evaluating library strategies: Using social return on investment to evaluate the Libraries for Life strategy for Welsh libraries CyMAL: Amgueddfeydd Archifau a Llyfrgelloedd Cymru CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales Dr Alyson Tyler Libraries Development Adviser CyMAL, Welsh Government @libalyson
  2. 2. Outline of talk <ul><li>Libraries for Life strategy and evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Social Return on Investment </li></ul><ul><li>Issues to consider </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul>Grandad Bibli – part of marketing campaign
  3. 3. Libraries for Life strategy 2008-11 <ul><li>CyMAL – policy division of Welsh Government </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries for Life work strands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Learning Libraries Programme (capital) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online content and resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regional library partnerships framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National marketing strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing workforce skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Welsh Public Libraries Standards Framework Three </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Libraries for Life funding £10.5m </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2008-09 £1m + £1.5m capital </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2009-10 £1m + £3m capital </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2010-11 £1m + £3m capital </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Libraries for Life work strands (1/2) <ul><li>Community Learning Libraries Programme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modernisation and refurbishment projects, grants to local authority libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Online content and resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online subscriptions to newspapers, family history, reference works etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provision of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All Wales library catalogue Cat Cymru, via portal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project staff based at NLW </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Regional library partnerships framework </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regional development officers, regional projects on key themes </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Libraries for Life work strands (2/2) <ul><li>National marketing strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Programme of activities including annual ‘festival’, staff awards, themed press releases, staff training, staff online toolkit, marketing messages etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project staff based at Wrexham CBC </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Developing workforce skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bursaries for range of qualifications for library staff including NVQs, ICTL, Foundation Degree, BSc & MSc </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Welsh Public Libraries Standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implementation of Framework Three </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planning Framework Four </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Evaluation framework <ul><li>Independent research company Scotinform, with Associates </li></ul><ul><li>16 month evaluation process – interim reports </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative and quantitative research: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature review – country comparator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews with CyMAL staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews with strand leaders and key stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey of heads of library services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff: survey (online), focus groups (online and face to face) (300+) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users: survey (online and paper), focus groups (online and face to face) (700+) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-users: interviews (face to face) and focus groups (online and face to face) (c.600) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SROI analysis on two programme strands </li></ul>
  7. 7. Social Return On Investment <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Framework for measuring and accounting for value </li></ul><ul><li>Developed by the Office of the Third Sector (now the Office for Civil Society) </li></ul><ul><li>Measures relevant change to people or the organisation(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Measures social, economic and environmental outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Monetary value to represent changes and value </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>2 work strands assessed </li></ul><ul><li>Community Learning Libraries Programme case studies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pontarddulais (near Swansea, south Wales) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wrexham (north Wales) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Workforce development (bursaries and training) </li></ul>SROI application to Libraries for Life
  9. 9. <ul><li>Establishing scope and identifying key stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Mapping outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Evidencing outcomes and giving them a value </li></ul><ul><li>Establishing impact </li></ul><ul><li>Calculating the SROI </li></ul><ul><li>Reporting, using and embedding </li></ul><ul><li>SROI Network </li></ul>SROI – 6 stage process
  10. 10. <ul><li>SROI relevant questions included in evaluation surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Focus groups held with library staff and users </li></ul><ul><li>CyMAL reports and management information analysed </li></ul>SROI – information gathering
  11. 11. <ul><li>Stakeholder  their input/investment  the outcome/change  value of change  calculations for each stakeholder and each change  the SROI ratio £1 to £x.xx </li></ul><ul><li>“ SROI is not just a number but a story about change which includes narrative, qualitative, quantitative and financial aspects” </li></ul>SROI - processing
  12. 12. And the answer is… <ul><li>Workforce Development </li></ul><ul><li>£3.12* of SROI </li></ul><ul><li>Community Learning Libraries Programme </li></ul><ul><li>Pontarddulais : £3.42* of SROI </li></ul><ul><li>Wrexham: £2.16* of SROI </li></ul><ul><li>* = unverified </li></ul>
  13. 13. SROI and measuring impact of Libraries for Life <ul><li>SROI challenging process </li></ul><ul><li>Many stakeholders and indicators identified </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting with large number of stakeholders a challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Not always possible to find a financial proxy to show the benefit (materiality) </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestion that SROI is not an appropriate measurement tool for a programme of this size </li></ul><ul><li>SROI more appropriate for smaller, discreet projects </li></ul>
  14. 14. Wider findings from the SROI process <ul><li>Staff and users benefited: increased usage, improved public and staff environments </li></ul><ul><li>Staff benefitted from increased levels of skills and confidence and higher earning potential </li></ul><ul><li>SROI process provided valuable insight into wider impacts and benefits of the investment in the library sector in Wales </li></ul><ul><li>Further information in Chapter 13 of the Evaluation of Libraries for Life report on CyMAL website </li></ul>
  15. 15. Other findings and conclusions <ul><li>“… excellent value for money…” </li></ul><ul><li>Wide reach impact of an holistic approach to investment in libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Value of partnerships across the library sector </li></ul><ul><li>Intrinsic ‘value’ of libraries, even from non-users </li></ul>
  16. 16. Further issues <ul><li>Data gathering framework vital </li></ul><ul><li>SROI suitability for large programmes? </li></ul><ul><li>Other economic impact tools e.g. joint ROI project 2011-12 with Scotland and Northern Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>Other options for measuring performance in libraries (e.g. Welsh Public Library Standards) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Contact details <ul><li>Alyson Tyler </li></ul><ul><li>@libalyson </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> - Evaluation report available here (under Research and Evidence) </li></ul><ul><li>Alison Kennedy </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Scotinform </li></ul>
  18. 18. Further reading <ul><li>MLA. (2010). Community engagement in public libraries: an evaluation of the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Libraries Programme, Final Report . (By ERS Research and Consultancy) </li></ul><ul><li>Jura Consultants. (2008). Economic impact methodologies for the museums, libraries and archives sector: what works and what doesn’t . Commissioned by MLA Council and MLA South East. </li></ul><ul><li>Griffiths, J-M., King, D. & Lynch, T. (2004). Taxpayer return on investment in Florida public libraries . (2004). See http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Florida new report shows improvement since 2004 study: SROI increased from $6.54 in 2004 to $8.32 in 2008. See: </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Any questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Diolch yn fawr </li></ul>