How is your service really doing? While we write up a wonderful world in the annual report, we can only really know how well we are doing when someone outside comes and takes an honest, hard but fair look at what we are doing.
- What is the service really like for the service users?
- What do families really feel (they may not tell you as they may fear repercussions on their family member, even though you would never consider such a thing)?
- How do staff really feel the service could improve?
- Is there agreement between all the stakeholders on the basic assumptions, principles and direction of the service?
- Has the service drifted from core values over time?
- Has the service become too beholden to government but you don’t have the data to back this up?
Staff at Include have had over 15 years of experience in service evaluation, having evaluated day, residential, educational, work and recreational services for people with a disability and people who are ageing. Our evaluations start from the fundamental needs of the service users and then look at the coherence between the service principles; the service purpose, and the service processes to meet the needs of the service users. This usually uncovers areas where the service is strong and coherent, and others where incoherence or inefficiencies are occurring.
The evaluation report is confidential but will always be honest and direct. However, Include uses an approach known as ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ where there is a lot of emphasis on things being done well so that they are safeguarded in future changes, but also positive strategies are proposed for areas that are not up to standard. This ensures that while the evaluation does not shirk issues that are not in accordance with the mission or standards of the Agency, they are presented in a way that gives a positive direction for future improvement.
The evaluation is framed around an ‘ideal’ service so that clear directions are set for future growth. This evaluation service will be of most interest to agencies that have a strong desire to look hard at their procedures to achieve the highest quality means of meeting the needs of their service users.
Costs will vary depending on the time involved and number of people interviewed, number of Include Staff employed on the evaluation and length of the report. Hence costs of evaluations are negotiated individually.