Last Updated on December 7, 2015
Category: All, Charities, Community Support, Social Housing

Arena Partnership’s Alan Marshall has had many conversations with community teams over recent months and found a common view about evaluating the social impact of support and regeneration programmes.

While a full, detailed and audited evaluation has its place, the time and resources involved mean this simply cannot be done for every programme or activity.

So what many providers are looking for is a quick and simple indication of the social value created which can be used to compare different programmes, prioritise resources and perhaps select a few programmes for more rigorous analysis using one of the specialist tools available.

The key elements of such a ‘light-touch’ approach are:

  1. Building a real-time history of client engagements, staff time, costs and partner inputs;
  2. Tracking incremental changes to clients as a result of the interventions;
  3. Recording other programme outputs;
  4. Linking client and programme outputs to relevant social value proxies;
  5. Automatically reporting the overall inputs, outputs, social benefit and return on investment;

And supplementing the numbers above with ‘storyboards’ to bring life to the reports generated.

‘Displacement’, ‘Drop-off’ and ‘Dead-weight’ calculations are not seen as necessary if the objective is just to obtain a rough calculation and comparison between different programmes.

Providers are comfortable tapping into the growing bank of social value proxies available on the internet but insist on the freedom to choose which to use or to add their own where they see fit; there is still much debate about the merits of ‘standard’ indicators.

For information on Arena’s Tracker software can help you with evaluating the social valuation of your programmes, call 08456 432872.