One of our key areas of work has been to support the development of an outcomes-focused approach for the Programme for Women Involved in Community Transformation (WICT). This programme has been developed under the Fresh Start Agreement and is designed to increase the participation and influence of women in community development.
Programme development has been underpinned by a co-design approach involving the Department for Communities working along with other departments, statutory agencies and representatives from community and women’s organisations. CENI worked with the co-design group to develop a ‘theory of change’ which set out:
- The effects which WICT was expected to achieve for individual women, organisations and at a strategic level
- Its impacts and relevance to the Tackling Paramilitarism and Organised Crime Programme
- Its potential contribution to PfG outcomes
This informed a more detailed framework which identified specific indicators for each of the outcomes. We then worked with NISRA statisticians to incorporate relevant indicators into an OBATM style report card. Not all the programme indicators are reducible to quantitative performance measures, so we will be building in additional qualitative data collection as the programme is rolled out.
The process was initially tested via an Early Intervention Programme for Women (Jan – March 2017); the evaluation of this informed the design, planning and commissioning of the main programme which has been taken forward by a delivery partnership since late 2017. CENI has continued to support the design and data collection process as the main programme has been implemented.
The experience has been an interesting – and sometimes challenging – one. The development of the outcomes framework was a valuable exercise in co-design with stakeholders from different sectors, and with different perspectives, coming together to agree what outcomes they wanted to see from a complex and politically sensitive programme. The process of developing meaningful and measurable indicators to support scorecard reporting has involved negotiations between the delivery partners and Government statisticians, and has provided learning in terms of balancing the demands of the OBA methodology with recognition of the specific context in which the programme is operating.
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