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Tuesday 11 February 2014

Make evaluation public

One of the bravest and most challenging things a partnership can do is open itself up to public scrutiny. Creating a panel of clients or users of the partnership’s services and giving them the opportunity to visit partnership activities and meetings and then submit comments about what they see and hear can be a great lever for change and increased effectiveness.

For example, Aberdeen City Council has set up a Citizens’ Panel that can comment on the activities of the City’s Community Partnership. Members of this panel can access any part of the partnership’s activities and they are encouraged to report their findings to the main Partnership Board. In addition, representatives from the Citizen’s Panel attend the Partnership Board meetings, adding even greater transparency and accountability to the partnership’s processes and decision making.

Partnerships also need to be innovative in how they promote their services and encourage the public to contribute their comments. Access to online comment boards and novelties such as online and touch screen voting will capture people’s interest and encourage them to give their opinions. Arranging fun events and activities that showcase a partnership’s work will also encourage people to engage with a partnership and share their views about it. 

In order to go truly public, however, a partnership needs to reach physically into the areas where their work is carried out. Mobile services, information points and outreach staff can act as the spokes radiating from a partnership’s hub, reaching towards and touching the areas where the partnership does its work and gaining people’s comments at first hand.                         
For example, an initiative in Fife, Scotland, that wanted to evaluate the effects of regeneration upon health and wellbeing created pairings of local experts and residents. These became the spokes that communicated local views about the effects of regeneration back to the hub of the initiative.

For more about collaboration go to: Sleeping-with-the-Enemy-Achieving-Collaborative-Success-2nd-Edition 

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