The economic impacts of training on individuals and wider socio-economic impact.
Want to start with this definition from Inspiring Impact – national consortium & programme work in their recently publiched Code of Good Impact Practice. What’s useful here is the concept of impact as longer-term affects or what difference a service makes in its broadest sense – on individuals, communities, public purse etc. But for me there is something crucial missing...
Who can tell me what’s happening here? When we are thinking about what change we have made as a result of our service we need to consider what unintended consequences there might be – positive and negative, and learn from them. (C) Copyrighted 28/06/13
So we need to think about any change that may have occurred over time. This requires providers to move beyond outputs – direct results of your activities e.g. 100 people attending training, to outcomes – changes in the people, environemnt, community that result from these activities e.g. Becoming more employable, to understanding impacts – this takes account of what would have happened anyway, the contribution of other and the length of time it takes for outcomes to happen. There is also a rising interest in Value – that is – the relative importance of your impact to different stakeholder groups and can involve methods such as monetisation – putting a financial value on outcomes.
This is crucial when we start considering the reasons why impact assessment is so fundamental to planning and investment in services. By understanding the affects a service has on an individual service user and the broader community, organisations can identify how well they are achieiving their outcomes, understand what other perhaps unintended outcomes are arising, and plan for efffectively their services in the future. With this information an organisation can demonstrate why their work makes a difference, and where an investor has commissioned a piece of work, proof of what their return is. To understand your unique contribution and full value. II Code of Good Impact Practice: 8 principles of good practice - Importance of Leadership - Focusing on the impact staff and volunteers create can motivate them To encourage a culture of openness, learning and dialogue for improvement, To provide funders with added value.
Being able to understanding and communicate the full value of the change you create is key in an era of new audiences and structures that you have varied levels of engagement or prior relationships with. How much do GPs understand the health and well-being impacts of your service? What does the local private sector know about the role of the vcs in delivering skills and learning as a driver for growth? How well are you able to quantify your impact in economic and social well-being terms? Evidencing impact is a key aspect of public sector commissioning that is not going to go away. As well as seeing a move to outcomes based commissioning, this is increasingly coupled with payment by results. Alongside this is government’s commitment to the concept of public, shared or Social Value – enshrined in the Public Services (Social Value Act). This act requires public authorities as of January this year to consider the economic, social and environmental value of commissioned services. One of our Hub training providers pulled this slide off a Google images search under Social Value. The spirit of the Act is to increase opportunities for social value creation across the commissioning cycle – where there is real dialogue between commisisoners, communities, service users, and providers. So the challenge is in changing behaviour and attitudes across the public sector from procurement officers to members. The challenge is about how to move beyond legal barriers.
Social Value should be seen as part of the place shaping agenda of local government where authorities have a clear concept of shared or public value with their communities. So Social Value is a real opportunity – but no one sector has a monopoly and commissioners may not always be able to identify the possibilities for social value creation – it is important therefore for service providers to be really clear about what social value their services can create. Nationally and locally there have been different responses to this agenda. Croydon have produced a useful social value toolkit. Skills and learning features heavily in examples of social value creation & indeed is the case in most documents / discussions where authorities are trying to define what social value might look like – citing examples such as local employment, apprenticeships, local supply chains, opportunities for young people etc. Niace have produced some early case studies based on a SROI assessment of impact
It’s not just Local Authorities who are interested in value. Social investors including the Lottery are increasingly seeking outcomes based evidence as a means of understanding their return on investment. Inspiring Impact are working with a group of key funders nationally & have just produced the Funders principles and drivers of good impact practice. The question here – is who is going to pay for this?
Impact measurement doesn’t need to be expensive but it does need to be clearly thought through and imbedded across the organisation. However there is also value in resourcing longitudinal research work. POV Well-Spring example. When drawing up an impact plan for your organisation, you should take a step by step approach – Firstly – make sure you know what outcomes you are trying to achieve and that your organisation’s mission and vision are aligned to these outcomes. Outcomes resources – NPC mapping learner outcomes from EU & DWP investment, wikipedia of broader outcomes. Look at what you are already doing Think about what else you might want to know Perhaps focus on one area / stakeholder group at a time – be realistic and proportionate Look at your resources and you audience Impact assessment can be resource intensive especially with this increasing interest from investors to put a value on outcomes. Valorisation has come to the fore with frameworks such as SROI which seeks to put a monetary value on outcomes – but limitations – lack understanding of ratio, misuse, credibility, how appropriate? V useful principles. Exeter Uni example – Following a return on investment methodology considering the cost of training against changes in an individual’s income / benefit to assess economic impact, but drawing on NEF’s well-being tool to develop an index of social beenfits: skills and competencies, social networks, self-esteem, Quality of Life. Unlike fellow POV researchers – they are suggesting that it is not appropriate to put a value on these less tangible benefits, and instead are simply reporting the change in these areas.
II programme – useful resources – including list of over 130 tools – online resource will be able to search by sector – currently at least 13 tools relating to training
Heaps of resources – There are frameworks, briefings and guides that will help to guide you
Assessing your impact should not be an add on at the end of the delivery process, but should be imbedded into all aspects of both the strategic planning cycle and delivery. You need to decide from the outset what you are trying to achieve or what change you are trying to create and then understand how well you are achieving that change. Funders and commissioners are grappling with issues around social value and impact measurement. Collaborate – impact networks Don’t forget the power of stories
1. Charlotte Hanson, South West Forum
2. South West Impact Hub
Access to Quality, Expert, Independent support:
Proving Our Value Project
5 longitudinal case studies to measure impact of
Incl. impact of Skills and Learning in Okehampton
– Exeter University & Community Council of Devon
3. “the broad or longer-term effects of a
project or organisation’s work (also
referred to as the difference it makes). This
can include effects on people who are
direct users of a project or organisation’s
work, effects on those who are not direct
users, or effects on a wider field such as
government policy.” Inspiring Impact: The
Code of Good Impact Practice
4. (C) Copyrighted 12/4/11
5. More Definitions...
“Any change resulting from an
activity, project, or organisation. It
includes intended as well as
unintended effects, negative as well
as positive, and long-term as well as
short-term.” (NCVO 2010)
6. Why measure impact?
• Improved programme management
• More effective planning
• More effective evaluation
• Increased understanding of the impact of your
• Stronger communication of the value of your
work to ‘the people that matter’
• Enhanced attention to the social, economic and
environmental value created by your business or
7. Whose Value is it anyway?
8. “It’s not enough to
show that you did
something. You have to
show that what you did
is better than anything
else you could have
done. We want to find
out what works.” Peter
Wanless, BLF CEO
9. Impact Practice Spectrum
Measuring outcomes on a shoe-string
“Gold-standard” impact assessment and valorisation
10. Some Other Resources
• Social Accounting and Audit - www.socialauditnetwork.org.uk
• Social Return on Investment www.thesroinetwork.org
2. Briefings and guides
• New Economics Foundation (NEF) - www.proveandimprove.org/
• Charities Evaluation Services - www.ces-vol.org.uk
• The Guild – Getting Started in Social Impact measurement
• The WikiVOIS Database – indicators and proxies
• NPC – various including Outcomes Map: Employment & Training –
3. Impact Programmes - Inspiring Impact Programme –
www.Inspiringimpact.org – tools, documents etc.
Proving Our Value – www.southwestforum.org.uk/provingourvalue
4. Training – South West Impact Hub – www.southwestforum.org.uk
11. Charlotte’s Key Pointers
• Be clear about your outcomes
• Involve your stakeholders
• Work with your commissioners / investors
• Communicate - Know your audience
• Seek Help
“We’re more interested in people
telling stories about how their lives
have changed as a result of what we’ve
done. The difficulty with a lot of impact
is that it finds it hard to deal with
Dawn Austwick, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation