Case Studies

Here are some examples of my work with clients:

Case Study: Healthcare Cost Benefit Analysis
Case Study: Social Return on Investment (1) - Mental Health
Case Study: Social Return on Investment (2) - Crisis Support
Case Study: Balanced Scorecard for a Housing Organisation
Case Study: Assessing Social Value
Case Study: Social Return on Investment (3) - Runaway Children
Case Study: Research Report
Case Study: Community Centre Evaluation
Case Study: Balanced Scorecard Performance Indicators
Case Study: Supporting an Award Submission


Case Study: Healthcare Cost Benefit Analysis

The Client
Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange (GATE) supports the city's Gypsy and Traveller communities. It works to tackle problems including health inequalities which see an average life expectancy for these communities of just 50 years, compared with 78 for the city as a whole.

GATE had developed a number of narrative stories based on typical Gypsy and Traveller experiences with health and social care. Each story had two versions: what currently tends to happen, and what an improved 'healthcare pathway' would look like. They wanted to know whether, in addition to health benefits, these improved pathways could also save the NHS and Local Authorities money.

Consultancy Approach
From the GATE stories we selected two that seemed particularly suitable for cost benefit analysis. I started by turning both version of each into flow-diagrams with "swim-lanes" that showed how the stories unfolded for each person or organisation involved. From this and discussions with GATE I was able to identify the steps which cost the NHS or social care time and money.

The next stage was to put a financial value to these steps. Here I used a range of standard reference sources together with an understanding of how these worked in practice, combining my experience with GATE's own knowledge. From this, I developed a comparison of total costs for the 'current' and 'improved' versions of each pathway. These comparative costs were explained in my report, together with the flow-diagrams and GATE's original stories.

Benefits Achieved
My analysis demonstrated that the improved pathways not only delivered clear health benefits, but also cost less. This was mainly because early intervention, based on respect and understanding, prevented the need for much greater expenditure later.

GATE has now published the report, including an endorsement from the Department of Health. It will be used to raise awareness with NHS and social care professionals on how a more positive approach to Gypsy and Traveller health can save money as well as deliver better outcomes.

Click here to see a copy of the report

 

Case Study: Social Return on Investment (1) - Mental Health

The Client:
Community Links provides a range of support services for people with mental health problems across Leeds and West Yorkshire. One of these is their Intermediate Hostels, which offer resettlement and rehabilitation for those leaving hospital, and also some short-stay relapse prevention (respite) places. Community Links wanted an SROI evaluation of these hostels, both to demonstrate their value and to identify further improvement options.

Consultancy Approach:
This was a full Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis, and input from current and former hostel clients was very important. Work began with a series of workshops to identify all ‘stakeholders’ – everyone that the hostels have an impact on. I the gathered feedback from all of these stakeholders (clients, referrers and others) on what had changed for them – what difference the hostels had made. For each of these changes I then established a credible financial equivalent or ‘proxy’, which enabled the value achieved to be compared with the amount invested in the service; this is the SROI ratio, defined as the social value achieved per £1 invested. Most important, it also identified how this social value was generated, and hence where it could be enhanced further.

I presented findings in a comprehensive report that detailed the benefits for clients and others, and how these were achieved. It also identified the potential for further improvements, and these were summarised in a separate Annex that accompanied the report.

Benefits Achieved:
Community Links was pleased to receive confirmation that, though the Intermediate Hostels ‘model’ was not a new one, it was still very effective. Results were not only shared with the local Clinical Commissioning Group but were jointly presented with them at a launch event to a wide range of current and former clients, staff and other organisations. Community Links and the CCG are currently collaborating on implementing my report’s recommendations, to improve the service still further.

For a summary of the report and its recommendations, compiled by Community Links, please click here.

 

Case Study: Social Return on Investment (2) - Crisis Support


The Client:
This client was a registered charity working in the mental health field, and had already done much to evaluate its work. It wanted to take this further by using Social Return on Investment (SROI) both to demonstrate its effectiveness to funders and to identify ways it could improve its services further.
 
Consultancy Approach:
This was a full SROI analysis submitted to the SROI Network for assurance - which means it received external confirmation and accreditation. The process involved identifying all of the organisation's key stakeholders, assessing the change they experienced as a result of the organisation's work, and then attributing a financial equivalent value to these changes. My work included discussions with the organisation's staff, with NHS and Adult Social Care representatives, and with service users themselves, together with careful analysis of numeric data and other feedback. This gave a detailed  understanding of the impact of the organisation's work on individuals in different situations. Using recognised methods to test the robustness of these conclusions, SROI then produced a ratio showing the social return achieved per £1 invested.
 
Benefits Achieved:
The analysis demonstrated that the charity delivered between £4 and £6.50 of social value for every £1 of funding investment. Of greater value still however was the feedback that resulted from the SROI analysis. This gave the organisation more understanding than it had ever had before of the people it worked with and the impact of its work. My report included several recommendations, all of which were greatly appreciated and are being actively pursued.

You can read a summary version of the full SROI report here.

 



Case Study: Balanced Scorecard for a Housing Organisation
 

The Client:
An established social housing organisation wanted to overhaul its performance management system to make it robust and relevant to its aims, and also to improve the involvement and engagement of its staff. They had identified the Balanced Scorecard as the best framework for this purpose, and I was asked (via TEAL Consulting) to support them. 
 
Consultancy Approach:
I led two main workshops with all of the Group's senior managers. The first covered understanding of Balanced Scorecard and strategy mapping principles, and led to a draft strategy map for the organisation. The second dealt with 'From Strategy Map to Scorecard', identifying the most suitable performance indicators for each area within the strategy map. Collectively, these indicators would form the new Balanced Scorecard. After each workshop, more detailed discussions developed these ideas further and addressed aspects of practical implementation.
 
Throughout, I worked in partnership with the organisation's own Business Improvement Team, transferring knowledge so that they could take a full role in the development process and maintain the framework in the future. This particularly applied to the development of second-tier scorecards, one for each service area to support and 'feed in' to the top-level scorecard. After a couple of initial workshops, Business Improvement Team members were able to run these themselves and involve a wide range of staff across this organisation.
 
Benefits Achieved:
The organisation now has its own unique monitoring and reporting framework, comprising a corporate-level Balanced Scorecard supported by second-level scorecards that measure the contribution of all of its service areas. The new system focuses on measures that really matter and the development process has increased staff engagement at all levels as well as giving the organisation new understanding and skills.

 



Case Study: Assessing Social Value

The Client:
Leeds Empties is a social enterprise that works in partnership with Leeds City Council to bring empty homes back into use. In the words of the Council’s Chief Executive, “the intensive, one-to-one support that they offer can make all the difference when people need help bringing their empty property back into use”.
As well as supporting the Council, Leeds Empties wanted to understand and demonstrate the broader social value it achieves for owners, residents and wider communities.

Consultancy Approach:
Empty properties arise for many different reasons, and have an equally diverse range of solutions. To illustrate this, I worked with them to analyse a number of case study examples of situations they had dealt with. In each case, as well as considering the work Leeds Empties had done, we identified who had benefitted and how – for example the Council, owners, new residents, local businesses and others.

The findings from these case studies were brought together to analyse the outcomes achieved from a number of perspectives. Leeds City Council, as the key partner, was a major stakeholder, but it was also important for Leeds Empties to demonstrate its broader social impact.  This my reports did by highlighting other aspects of social value – benefits for owners of empty properties, for new residents, for local business and others. It also put an approximate financial value on these benefits, demonstrating that Leeds Empties achieved far greater social value than the amount invested in it.

Benefits Achieved:
Leeds Empties greatly appreciated the reports, not just in acknowledging the success of their work but also as a means to raise their profile further, hence enabling them to tackle more empty homes.

This interim report covered the first part of 2014-15, and was followed by a full report at the end of the year. Conclusions in the final report covered the various social outcomes achieved, and also made recommendations on ways to make their operations more effective and sustainable. These reports also followed up a simple cost-benefit analysis for 2013-14, and each successive evaluation adds to the depth of understanding that Leeds Empties has, on how it achieves its results and how it can do more.

To see a copy of the interim report, click here.

To see a copy of the final report, click here, or to see a graphics summary of results click here.

 
Case Study: Social Return on Investment (3) - Runaway Children

The Client:
The Railway Children is an international charity that helps runaway children and street children in India, East Africa and the UK. In the UK it works with local charities in different parts of the country to support young people who go missing from home or care. Return Home Interviews and subsequent follow-up work with young people forms an essential part of this support. Along with some of their partner organisations, Railway Children wanted further insight into the impact of this work on the lives of these vulnerable youngsters, and on others involved. They asked me to lead an evaluation using Social Return on Investment (SROI) as the method.

Consultancy Approach:
Critical to this evaluation was feedback from the young people themselves. The project partner organisations arranged independent  interviews with a sample of the young people they had supported, to ascertain what difference the support had made to their lives. We also designed a simple 'smiley face' rating scale to measure the extent of change for each of the key aspects they reported.
Alongside this we also interviewed parents, foster carers and other agencies, including children's homes, schools, the police and Local Authority Children's Services. This gave an independent view of outcomes for the young people, and also gauged what difference the project partners' work had made for these other 'stakeholders'.
I conducted some of these interviews and carried out the SROI analysis based on valuing these various outcomes. I then prepared the report which Railway Children has subsequently published.

Benefits Achieved:
The analysis showed an SROI ratio of between £3 and £7 of social value achieved for each £1 invested. More significantly, the report also demonstrated how these results were achieved, and it now forms an important part of the evidence used by Railway Children and its project partners to highlight the value of their work. The evaluation also included recommendations on how the effectiveness of this type of support for vulnerable young people could be strengthened still further.

Click here to see a copy of the final report published by Railway Children

 

Case Study: Research Report

The Client:
This example was another piece of work with Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange (GATE), whose 'Negotiated Stopping' approach is an alternative to  continually evicting Gypsies and Travellers from one unauthorised site to another. It has been used successfully in Leeds for several years, and GATE received funding from the Joseph Rowntree Community Trust to undertake research on its wider potential. I was commissioned to lead this research, and produce a report to answer three key questions: 
  1. What has Negotiated Stopping achieved in Leeds, and how has this happened?
  2. To what extent could Negotiated Stopping, or something similar, be applied elsewhere in the country?
  3. If Negotiated Stopping can be applied elsewhere, what is needed to make this happen?
 
 
Consultancy Approach:
My work combined desk-based and field research to gather information from a wide range of sources. These included:
  • Interviews with Gypsies and Travellers themselves, and with representatives groups around the country
  • Interviews with other agencies including the police, local authorities and others with specialised knowledge
  • Government legislation and guidance, together with reports and policy documents from many other sources
  • Electronic survey of participants at previous GATE events
  • Feedback from a conference in London in November 2015 
I compiled this information and analysis into a comprehensive report. This evidenced the key benefits that Negotiated Stopping (or similar local arrangements) could achieve for Gypsies and Travellers themselves, for local authorities, for the police and for the local settled community. It particularly highlighted cost savings that local authorities and the police could realise through taking this kind of approach.
 
Benefits Achieved:
This was essentially a feasibility study, and highlighted the need for further work in this field. However, my report provided a great deal of new information and insights on a subject where little previous research was available It also made several recommendations for GATE and its work with partner organisations.
 
GATE very much appreciated report and its recommendations. It formed an important part of a conference in London in February 2016 on 'Reducing Cost and Conflict around Unauthorised Traveller Encampments', which attracted delegates from councils and police organisations across the country. GATE is currently in discussion with the Joseph Rowntree Community Trust and others on how to promote Negotiated Stopping further, using the information in my report.

For a copy of this research report (which includes a short Executive Summary), click here.

 

Case Study: Community Centre Evaluation

The Client:
A church-based community centre had benefitted from Communitybuilders funding, to create a new building as a base for a wide range of community activities. An evaluation was required, both to ensure that funds had been well spent and to help the organisation maximise its impact. This was to be based on Social Return on Investment, although modified for the way in which the centre works.

Consultancy Approach:
Because of the wide range of different activities the centre supported, a full SROI on all aspects of its work was not feasible. I therefore concentrated on two groups - one a carers group, the other a 'Knit & Natter' social group - to establish their outcomes and what value they gave to participants and others. From these examples, I was able to extrapolate the wider benefits the centre could expect to generate, and draw conclusions from this.

Benefits Achieved
My report produced SROI ratio figures for the two groups studied, and by extrapolation an estimate for the community centre as a whole. It also identified how these outcomes were achieved, and made practical recommendations on how the centre's activities could be developed further, to maximise benefits for individuals, their families and the wider community.

 



Case Study: Balanced Scorecard Performance Indicators
 

The Client:
A housing sector client wanted to strengthen performance management by introducing a Balanced Scorecard. Part of my work involved helping them develop new performance indicators that measured how effectively the organisation was working as well as what it achieved.
 
Consultancy Approach:
Some measures could readily be derived from existing PIs or mandatory reporting requirements. In other areas new indicators were needed, particularly for ‘softer’ aspects of internal performance.
As an example of this, the organisation wanted a way of measuring how effective its two-way communications with customers was. At a workshop we compiled a list of possibilities including:

  • Customer feedback on communications
  • Number of complaints relating to communications
  • Data from planned maintenance programme questionnaire
  • Number of policy/procedure changes from working groups
  • “Representative-ness” of customer focus group membership
  • Feedback on effectiveness of events for residents
  • Meeting customer preferences on communications methods
  • Effectiveness of presence in partnership forums
  • Feedback loop in place
  • Response rate to customer surveys
  • Media coverage
  • Resident editorial panel feedback
  • Feedback from representatives
  • Information drawn from LAA-based surveys
 
On reviewing this list, people felt that ‘Response rate to customer surveys’ had a number of advantages. It was easy to measure, required no additional work, and above all encouraged the right organisational behaviours. Good survey response rates can only be achieved by pro-active, customer-focused communication and engagement – including responding to the results of previous surveys! This was the measure adopted in this instance.
 
Benefits Achieved:
This performance measure and others developed in a similar way helped the client build a full Balanced Scorecard. This was further supported by performance management software that enabled the organisation to track progress and report performance almost in real time. The resulting improvements in performance were acknowledged by external inspection.

 


 Case Study: Supporting an Award Submission
 
The Client:
A local authority Trading Standards service already had a high reputation amongst its peers and had attained a number of awards and certifications for the quality of the service it provided. It wished to take this further by applying for the UK Business Excellence Award, a demanding scheme organised by the British Quality Foundation that required a detailed submission presenting comprehensive evidence of all the service’s improvement activities and the results it had achieved.
 
Consultancy Approach:
My support comprised several strands of activity:

  • Training in the EFQM Excellence Model, so that those responsible for compiling the Award submission document had a good understanding of the way their application would be assessed
  • Workshop-based activity to identify key information to be included in the Award submission, and how this should be structured. This linked to the service’s business plans and to other quality standards and accreditations it had attained. Alongside this, I also included guidance on best practice in writing Award submission, to enable the service to present its activities and achievements clearly to the assessors
  • Detailed support in writing the submission document itself, including feedback and suggestions on sections drafted by the Council’s submission-writers, and outline drafts for some other sections of the document. All this was supported by ongoing discussion and advice to the lead officer.
 
Benefits Achieved:
I was able to provide substantial advice and support for this submission, and helped them produce a high-quality submission document. As a result, the service successfully achieved ‘Recognised for Excellence’ status, awarded by the British Quality Foundation, and was a public sector prize-winner in the UK Business Excellence Award for that year. Award feedback also provided an independent perspective that supported further improvement, and the experience proved a very positive one for staff across the service.
 
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