In October 2016 Disability Rights UK (DR UK) commissioned Traverse to help them demonstrate the impact of their personal budgets helpline.
As a first step, we facilitated a workshop to coproduce a draft theory of change for the personal budget helpline. DR UK then defined and tested the assumptions within this model, before we produced a one-page visual representation of how the personal budget helpline will enable disabled people to have increased control over their personal budgets and how they want to be supported.
This theory of change provided a common idea of the key inputs, target service user groups and the types of outcomes that are likely to be experienced by them as a result of the personal budget helpline. Traverse then conducted a rapid evidence review to identify wider evidence that supports the causal links between the theory of change’s outcomes and establish a knowledge base to frame the focus and development of the internal measurement tool.
Based on the findings of the rapid evidence review, we designed a questionnaire that could be administered online or via the telephone to collect data that could be used to demonstrate the personal budget helpline’s contribution towards wider impact. Specifically, the questionnaire will capture quantitative and qualitative data that can be used to measure DR UK’s progress against selected intermediate outcomes from the theory of change, which occur before, and are expected to help lead to the project’s overall aim.
Finally, in order to ensure that the tool is properly embedded within the organisation, we also ran a training workshop in Janaury 2018 with key members of DR UK staff to help them understand how to conduct measurement consistently, encourage the write-in of qualitative data, analyse the data and effectively communicate the results.
The project outputs will be used from as the basis for future claims about the programme’s contribution towards disabled people having increased control over their personal budgets and how they want to be supported, as well as associated wider impacts. By collecting good quality evidence to test the theory of change’s causal pathways, DR UK will be able to show that they have achieved targets and desired short-term changes at an individual level, strengthening the case that the project has contributed towards wider impacts.
The Excel dashboard of key charts should enable the Project Coordinator to quickly integrate visuals within funding reports.
It is also anticipated that this will be a ‘flagship’ project within DR UK in terms of measurement and self-evaluation, which will kickstart a cultural shift within DR UK as to how to think about measuring impact in the future.