Hannover C4 impact measurement

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Hannover policy forum - background paper

Workshop C - MEASURING QUALITY AND IMPACT

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Models of strategies that policy-makers can adopt over the next 6 years to measure Quality and Impact at a regional level in the use of Structural Funds.

National Strategic Reference Frameworks have now been submitted as the basis for implementation of the structural funds for 2007 to 2013 and will be designed to meet the Community strategy guidelines:

  • Enhancing attractiveness by improving accessibility, ensuring quality and level of services and preserving environmental potential;
  • Encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship and growth of knowledge economy; and
  • Creating more and better jobs by attracting more people into employment, improving adaptability of workers and enterprises and increasing investment in human capital

The focus of this forum is ‘To show how strategies to promote entrepreneurship and social enterprises can create jobs for both the groups and the areas that really need them’ which can influence all three of these guidelines.

Quality and impact are both important aspects of these strategies. In this workshop we are going to focus on impact and so our question is: How can the tools (or strategies or frameworks) we have been developing, to measure impact, support policy makers who want to ensure that national programmes for use of structural funds are best designed to meet the community objectives AND can be monitored to ensure they actually do?

In order to be useful these tools need to be:

  • able to be used at project, programme and policy levels
  • consistent with existing approaches to evaluating structural funds but offering advantages over these approaches
  • cost-effective at all levels
  • relate activities though to these objectives

Consequently we are interested in those frameworks which meet these and arguably therefore adhere to a number of principles:

  • Stakeholders are central to understanding impact – programmes are designed to benefit enterprises and employees
  • Relating investment and activities through to the objectives and the objectives of stakeholders
  • Recognition that attribution, displacement and deadweight are relevant to stakeholders (and not only to funders)

As these tools look at wider outcomes than the immediate issue of creating appropriate jobs in the right areas they will often provide a means of relating the policy focus of this forum back to the Community guidelines.

As we are specifically focusing on policies to increase inclusive entrepreneurship and social enterprise there are a number of specific questions that the tools will need to be able to consider:

Project level:

  • In projects that are designed to increase the number of enterprises are these net additional new enterprises?
  • To what extent are people who are excluded from the labour market able to access these changing opportunities?
  • The way in which continuous learning increases the viability of the enterprises

Programme level:

  • How is the total level of enterprise and the make up of enterprise in an area changing relative to other areas in terms of ownership, size and sector?
  • As it changes what is happening to the number and quality of jobs available?
  • What is the relationship between enterprise growth and the social, economic and environmental impact of those enterprises?

In polices designed to increase the level of entrepreneurship there is a risk that measures of enterprise activity are confused with levels of entrepreneurship. People will start businesses in different areas from where they live or be involved in economic activity that may not be being counted in standard measures of enterprise.

This session explores the use of a number of approaches that meet these principles; SROI, social accounting and Human Impact Assessment. In focusing on only some of the approaches we are also differentiating between frameworks for measuring value and tools to measure specific types of value – for example SROI and social accounting are frameworks, whereas LM3 is a tool to measure a type of value.

The workshop also explores the use of these at different levels. Each presentation will end with a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the approach and recommendations for policy makers and cover thoughts on how we overcome barriers to increasing the take up of these approaches. Social accounting and SROI have now been around for sometime. There is still a perception that they are time consuming exercises and that there is little benefit from undertaking the work. Approaches like selling added value in the UK are focusing the use of these tools on customers to address these two barriers. Examples of case studies are required that show the benefits to organizations that have used these tools.

At an organizational level Alec Carlberg will look at the experience of socio-economic reporting in Sweden and Jaana Merenmies will look at the Finnish Red Cross's work and the use of social accounting and also refer to Human Impact Assessment. At a programme level Eilis Lawlor from the New Economics Foundation (nef) will look at how SROI is being used to evaluate and improve performance of economic development programmes focusing on the UK’s Local Economic Growth Initiative. Finally Jeremy Nichols will briefly touch on a region wide programme for responsible business practice where the monitoring was based on an SROI approach. The presentations will also reflect on the usefulness of these tools at different levels.

These approaches requires systems solutions that:

  • are embedded in organisations often requiring ongoing tracking of beneficiaries either residents or businesses; and
  • are embedded in the management of structural funds requiring collation of data on beneficiaries and use of control or benchmarks groups.

Following the three presentations participants will complete an impact map for their organisations focusing on customers, funders or beneficiaries and relating their work to Structural Fund programmes. This will be our first attempt at speed impact mapping.

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