South West Forum held a conference titled ‘Proving Your Impact’, on 13th June 2012 in Exeter. The links to the presentations from the conference are below:
Impact measurement and Social Value – a Policy Context – Peter Bailey, Big Lottery Fund
Charlotte Hanson, Research Project Manager, South West Forum
Getting started and choosing an approach - Nicky Stevenson, The Guild
The value of impact measurement - Julie Hawker, CEO Cosmic
Measuring Soft Outcomes – Peter Bailey, Big Lottery Fund
An insight into Economic Impact methodologies – Matt Hill, University of Bristol
Measuring the Impact of Infrastructure – Karen Bell, University of Bristol, and Ruth Pitter, VOSCUR
Moving towards an Outcomes approach – Jill Davies, South Hams CVS
A few points from the day:
- There was much said about the increasing importance of measuring impact due to less funding being available, the increased competition for public sector contracts and the pressure to benchmark, compare and compete.
- Outcomes based commissioning – local authorities are working towards outcomes based commissioning which means services are paid for on the basis of a set of agreed outcomes rather than on units of service provision (numbers of service users, hours, days). They are looking to commission effective and efficient services that are able to demonstrate their impact on outcomes for service users. There was discussion around the cost of impact measurement being proportionate to a contract size, however, on a very small contract this may not leave enough to pay for any meaningful measurement. A local authority commissioner stated that they are aware of the issue of ensuring smaller organisations can compete in the commissioning process and win contracts and there needs to be a dialogue between the VCS and commissioners so that the process works for the VCS and they can compete and survive. A consortia approach to impact measurement was mentioned, although obviously VCS organisations are also competitors.
- There is often much discussion about the best way for impact to be measured. There is not a one size fits all approach and there are many tools and methods available. Organisations need to know the most effective way to measure their impact. The Guild published a guide in 2010 titled ‘Getting Started in Social Impact Measurement’ which is for small or medium sized organisations who are new or fairly new to Social Impact Measurement. Read the report here.