Additional Guidelines: Ways of Working Guidelines on how to find out more about how the ways of working with communities are having an impact Introduction A key feature of many community organisations is that they base their work on values and principles that influence how they work with people. For example: a community centre may be committed to empowerment, an underlying principle which staff and volunteers use to guide their work with individuals and groups a youth project within a centre may be involved in challenging racist views that some young people have about new Eastern European migrants coming to the area an older people’s club within a centre may be keen to involve people from different cultural backgrounds in order to address issues of diversity. Many centres are involved in such work, often with a lot of energy and commitment. Staff and volunteers may use particular approaches in their work in the centre – these can be called ‘practices’ or ‘processes’ – but to use everyday language here in these additional guidelines, we call these ‘ways of working’. Such ways of working often reflect the heart of what a centre is concerned with, so to include them in an impact assessment would be useful. ChangeCheck can act as a tool to help to understand how different ways of working are having an impact. This section can help you to look more closely at these issues, focusing on how that impact is affecting people. In order to do this, as well as other options, we suggest an additional question (as shown below) is added to the questionnaire for individual users of the centre (Survey Form A) which directly asks about issues such as empowerment and using everyday language. The information collected from this question can then be added to the data fed into the review session. Created with ChangeCheck, part of bassac’s Community Impact Programme 33 Corsham Street London N1 6DR Tel: 0845 241 0375 www.changecheck.org Email: email@example.com www.bassac.org.uk Background The ChangeCheck method, as described in the handbook, already examines the question of how a centre’s work is affecting communities in several ways. For example: the five roles framework for anchor organisations provides insights into the mix of roles a centre may be playing in its neighbourhood. This is asked about in the groups questionnaire (Survey Form B) the questionnaire for individual users (Survey Form A) includes open-ended questions about the difference the centre has made to people’s lives. This is a rich source of information on experiences and views that complements the hard data on levels of impact the questionnaires for groups (Survey Form B) and agencies (Survey Form C) also contain open-ended questions that give space for respondents to describe the ways in which the centre is having an impact. As discussed in the Further Considerations, the action planning part of the review session is a good opportunity to look at these issues. There are number of options: The soft data on values and ways of working from the sources just described above can be considered and contribute to assessing levels of impact. Where the review session identifies that levels of impact in some areas are in need of strengthening, it is an opportunity to encourage and ask questions in relation to ways of working. For example, are the ways of working being used in that particular area in need of changing and reflecting the organisation’s values more closely? It is important to consider these issues as part of the ChangeCheck review, rather than to just identify a low level of impact and set a target to raise it. Gathering information on ways of working In addition to these opportunities, we can gather further information by using an additional question about ways of working. This is based on a useful framework, as described below. Many community organisations and development workers use what is called a ‘community development approach’ as an underlying set of values and principles to inform their work. These are described in the Strategic Framework for Community Development, a framework developed and published by the Community Development Exchange (CDX). This statement can be viewed on www.cdx.org.uk and is included below with thanks to CDX. In order to explore principles and ways of working more fully, an additional question can be added to the individual user questionnaire (Survey Form A): the additional question asks about the specific ways in which the centre has made a difference to people’s lives this is presented in tick box format with a number of simple statements, making it relatively easy to use the data that is collected this additional question is included below in a format that you can copy and paste, and adapt to your needs the information collected from this question is hard data and can be collated in a similar way to the other hard data questions as described above, the existing Question Two in the user questionnaire (Survey Form A) may also provide useful insight into the ways of working. This is a ‘soft’ data question. the findings from these two questions in combination, involving both hard and soft data, can be presented during the review session and used to prompt discussion on the use of values and ways of working. discussion will be needed with staff and volunteers to ensure that they are involved in any changes and can contribute their own ideas and concerns. We now include text for the new question which you can copy and paste into the Survey Form A for users. Please note, the list of statements are intended to act as a checklist to select from, rather than for use as it stands. Additional question for Individual Users We are also interested to find out more about the ways the Centre has made a difference to people’s lives. In what ways has the Centre made a difference to you? Please tick any of the following that describe your experiences of where the Centre has had a major or substantial impact on you: Helped to build my self-confidence Valued me as a person Recognised my needs Valued my strengths and skills Helped me to build my skills for community action Helped me to do things myself Valued my culture and background Helped me to feel less excluded Supported me to work with other people Helped me to get along with people from different backgrounds Helped me to understand the neighbourhood better Supported me in challenging discrimination Helped me to take a stand Helped me to understand how decisions are made locally Helped me to have a say about decisions that affect me Gave me the information I needed Gave me new opportunities Introduced me to new networks Encouraged me to question things Supported me to take action to change things Practical considerations In using this additional new question you need to consider: The list of suggestions on what to ask about (e.g. helped me to feel less excluded), as it stands, is probably too long. It has been designed to act as a useful checklist for you to select from. As described, the question is based on an important and widely used statement of community development values and commitments. You can adapt the material to help ask about your own particular values and ways of working. In the list of statements, we have tried to use everyday language as much as possible. Even so, some people may struggle to understand what is meant in each case or to how to apply the question to their own life and situation. You may need to consider if additional support is needed to help people complete the question. The general issue of encouraging a good response rate is discussed in the handbook on page 20. Using the findings in the review session The data from this additional question can be prepared for use in the review session. The responses on the completed forms can be added up for this question using an empty spare form, broadly in the same way as described on page 21 of the handbook. This could lead to a finding, for example, that 87 out 110 people responding stated that the centre had had a major or substantial difference to their confidence. If however, only 10 people out of 110 responded in this way, it would suggest that the ways of working being used are not building people’s confidence to a great extent. Review session and follow-up As described, the additional question on ways of working can be included in the individual user questionnaire and the data collected fed into that session for your ChangeCheck review. Consequently, as well as raising many challenging questions about the levels of impact of different parts of the Centre’s work, the review session is also an opportunity to examine the nature of the Centre’s ways of working. There is a second way to use the question on ways of working where it acts as a follow-up to the review session. The review session may have identified areas with high/low levels of impact that need addressing. For example, if the level of impact in the area of lifelong learning is very low despite a substantial input of time resources, this could imply that more information is needed to consider the processes used and values reflected in this area. This could involve a follow-up short survey, which is more specific to users of that particular service. This will need to include the appropriate staff and volunteers in discussions to ensure they are involved. The question on ways of working could be adapted to focus on the user’s experience of one particular area of work and provide further useful material to help strengthen the impact. Values of Community Development The framework developed by the Community Development Exchange Values Social Justice - enabling people to claim their human rights, meet their needs and have greater control over the decision-making processes which affect their lives. Participation - facilitating democratic involvement by people in the issues which affect their lives based on full citizenship, autonomy, and shared power, skills, knowledge and experience. Equality - challenging the attitudes of individuals, and the practices of institutions and society, which discriminate against and marginalise people. Learning - recognising the skills, knowledge and expertise that people contribute and develop by taking action to tackle social, economic, political and environmental problems. Co-operation - working together to identify and implement action, based on mutual respect of diverse cultures and contributions. Commitments Challenging discrimination and oppressive practices within organisations, institutions and communities. Developing practice and policy that protects the environment. Encouraging networking and connections between communities and organisations. Ensuring access and choice for all groups and individuals within society. Influencing policy and programmes from the perspective of communities. Prioritising the issues of concern to people experiencing poverty and social exclusion. Promoting social change that is long-term and sustainable. Reversing inequality and the imbalance of power relationships in society. Supporting community led collective action.
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