What is the process for evidencing outcomes when working with the community?

October 19, 2012

The principle objective of this series of projects was to learn about co-delivery of projects between council and community groups.  As a result, there was no  requirement for the project to demonstrate achievement of outcomes or to evidence sustainability in themselves.

To reduce bureaucratic burden, it was decided that project leads did not need to identify outputs and project deliverables at the outset, in favour of a more evolved organic approach to project delivery.  The only requirement tied to the funding provided was that progress and learning was recorded on the coop toolkit blog. Unfortunately, few project leads have been able to identify their learning about working with the council on the blog.

There is evidence of activity and success from these projects.  For example, Metropolitan Housing has agreed to fund youth activity at the St Martin’s community centre for a year, the poly tunnel has been sited on the Cherry Close on the Tulse Hill estate and is producing crop for local salad providers, and the BBQ bike has engaged  approximately 120 people and identified a number of skills shortage which will inform the development of future projects to address these skills-gaps. However, it may prove difficult to evaluate the outcomes or social value gained from these projects given that the absence of any criteria against which these successes and achievements can be measured.  This demonstrates that, while working with the community requires us to adapt our processes, this should not be to detriment of core values such as robustness, accountability and the need to evidence outcomes of projects.


Public Services by Design

May 25, 2012

This post is to update you on the Public Services by Design projects being co-delivered by residents, the Design Council and public sector partners.
As we reported in the last post, the Design Council led a group of stakeholders, being called the ‘Diagonal Dozen’, in a 2 day process that led to 96 innovative and design-led solutions suggested to be introduced in Tulse Hill and Herne Hill.
These ideas were whittled down to a final list of 8 ideas – those which are deliverable within the 30/60/90 day project timescales and those which the Diagonal Dozen most wished to champion. The projects are:

Project Description Project lead and contact
Traffic calming To pilot use of green and growing spaces within traffic calming schemes and measures Giles Gibson, Giles@originaltg.com
Mobile Job Bike A bicycle that offers information and support to job seekers and also provides refreshments Frances Farragher , Courtney and Jeremy Keates, jkeates@lambeth.gov.uk ,

020 7926 2702

Soft Skills training To work job-seekers identified via the mobile job bike, amongst other sources, to develop the supporting skills needed to sustain employment Margaret Jarrett, 0208 671 3132
Local communications hub Information sharing to support use of resources in the Tulse Hill and Herne Hill Margaret Jarrett, 0208 671 3132
Space blog of under-used spaces Tied into the communications hub, this project identifies spaces which could be better used by the local community Salome Simoes, ssimoes@lambeth.gov.uk , 020 7926 2680
St Martin’s Estate Community centre Exploring issues for non-use of the community centre with young people and enabling them to use the space Sarah Coyte, scoyte@lambeth.gov.uk, 07852916199
Community Asset Mapping Door knocking in 3 blocks to gather information about the strengths, skills and interests of people living there Yvonne Joseph, Rebecca Eligon and Dorian Gray, DGray3@lambeth.gov.uk, 02079260030
New business start-up mentoring and incubation space Providing a space for business development in the early stages where mentoring and support is available Frances Farragher and Jeremy Keates, jkeates@lambeth.gov.uk ,

020 7926 2702

Polytunnel food growing Set up of a polytunnel to increase food resilience in the borough and develop growing skills Fiona Law, fiona.law@hotmail.co.uk, 07914 843619

To find out more or get involved, please contact the project leads on the email addresses provided, or by phone.
Each project lead will blog on the status of their project, and what they have learned from the process.  Look for further posts tagged Design Council Community Projects.

Community-led commissioning work with Design Council

February 29, 2012

Lambeth Council has been successful in securing support from the Design Council through its Public Sector by Design programme in relation to community led commissioning.  We are now working with the Design Council to look at innovative and design-led solutions in both Tulse Hill and Herne Hill; the areas were chosen as they presented particular challenges and opportunities.

The Design Council held a kick-off workshop which took place in early February, attended by both internal and external stakeholders to start to co-design a long list of projects.  A second workshop in late February (which I was unable to attend) generated 96 potential projects; these will be filtered down to a manageable number and considered for delivery.

The kick-off workshop was really exciting, engaging and certainly enjoyable. The focus was on using design-led approaches to look at problems and potential solutions.  As part of the process, we carried out an observation exercise to understand people’s needs by spending time with them.  For example, for our group we were given £5 to use on a service, which in our case was to buy some produce from  the local fruit and veg stall/shop. One of the other groups had £5 to spend at the bookies!  All the groups then mapped their experience, recording both ‘magic’ and ‘miserable’ moments, so customer journey mapping in effect.

The Design Council approach to observation is to ensure ‘that before you create something, you understand the people who are going to use it.  Otherwise you may end up creating something that seems like a good idea on paper, but doesn’t work for the people who are going to use it’.   So the message here is connect design thinking to projects and design techniques can help frame a problem in a different way.