As Scope developed their approach to involving clients, the Research and Evaluation team wanted to ensure they were doing everything possible to involve disabled people in their work. Giles Skerry had attended a CHEW meeting about client involvement, where he saw Lucy Holmes (then Research Manager at St Mungo’s) speak about how she involved clients in her team’s work. Giles arranged to meet Lucy for a more in-depth conversation about how she approached the work.
Lucy says: “I’ve always been interested in how we can best involve people with lived experience in our evaluation and impact work. It’s not easy work – you might need training in safeguarding, for example – and it can be time consuming. However, I’m firmly convinced that it’s the right thing to do, and results in better quality and more insightful work.
“At St Mungo’s, we involved clients in all areas of our work, and I was keen to share what I learned there with other CHEW members. I presented to one of our quarterly meetings, and invited a guest speaker whose work I admired. I was chuffed when Giles got in touch to say how useful he’d found it.
“Giles and I arranged to meet for a coffee, along with a couple of our colleagues, so we could talk in more detail about our work. I shared some of the things I’d learned about how best to involve clients, including sharing some of my own fears and challenges. Giles and his colleague asked us lots of questions. It was great to learn more about Scope and their plans, too.
“I’m now a trustee of CHEW and am really keen to encourage members to ask other members for help, and to help others when they can”.
Giles says: “When I joined Scope in 2017 it was at the start of a new strategic cycle and I was brought in to develop and implement a framework for evaluation. Co-production is something I have always felt is key to the success of good evaluation, but in late 2017 we weren’t in a position to roll it out across all our evaluation activities. So it was serendipitous that Lucy Holmes presented on Client Involvement at ChEW in December 2017. Several months later and having employed an officer whose primary responsibility was to research and develop an approach to co-production in impact and evaluation, we decided to trial an evaluation of our national employment service that would be co-produced to the highest possible standard. It was at this point that I remembered Lucy’s excellent presentation and so I reached out to her.
Our discussion over coffee was incredibly rich and offered invaluable insight that would help us work out a strategic approach to the evaluation. Some really key findings around budget, training and time constraints were essential to how we have done the evaluation. More than this we were both really inspired by what could be achieved if you give it your complete commitment. So that’s what we did. We assigned a big budget and a long timeframe for completion and our guiding principle from the off was to not be constrained by anything. We would devolve all agency to disabled people in the design, data collection and analysis of the evaluation.
After meeting Lucy, we recruited a co-evaluation team with lived experience of disability. We also created a stakeholder panel comprised of the co-evaluators, disabled peer reviewers, customer representatives, a CEO of a disabled people’s organisation and Scope staff. Six months later, and we’ve just finished collecting our data and are moving into the analysis phase of our research. We'll be making direct recommendations to the service and sharing our findings with stakeholders. We have grand plans for the dissemination of our research findings!
Working in a co-produced way directly influenced our choice of research questions and methods. It has ensured that how we evaluate our services reflects the priorities of customers. We've also received feedback that the involvement of researchers with lived experience of disability was a motivating factor for some customers choosing to take part in the evaluation.
We look forward to presenting our findings at an upcoming CHEW meeting in the future.”
If you have helped another CHEW member, or a member has helped you, we’d love to hear about it. It will help us understand our own impact! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Scope’s engagement and participation programme began in 2017 and is designed to ensure that disabled people’s voices are at the heart of what the charity does.
Scope is committed to impact and evaluation and has expanded its capacity in this area. Scope employs more than 800 people and has an annual income of £46.7 million.
St Mungo’s vision is that everyone has a place to call home and can fulfil their hopes and ambitions.
In 2018-19 St Mungo’s had a total turnover of £94.5 million, and provided 133 services across 353 sites, supported by more than 1,300 staff and 1,200 volunteers.
St Mungo’s is deeply committed to involving client. Clients are involved in decisions about their own support, their service and the organisation. St Mungo’s also has two formal groups for clients that inform the work of the organisation:
Outside In is a network of clients who play a crucial role in our decision making and implementation processes. They ensure that the work St Mungo’s does is efficient, effective, and suitable for the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
The Client Advisory Board (CAB) is a formal group of former and current clients that works closely with the Chief Executive and Board, offering valuable insight into proposals for projects and services. The CAB meets regularly and helps to guide the decisions that St Mungo’s takes as an organisation.