Asset-Based Indicator Framework 2017-11-09T20:45:36+00:00
Asset-Based Indicator Framework

“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker, management theorist

Why are you here? Are you a practitioner using creative community engagement? With marginalised groups maybe? Are you seeking to improve community members’ health and wellbeing? Hoping to reduce inequalities? Are you trying to achieve (health) outcomes? Meet local, national or international targets? Needing to ‘prove’ that what you’re doing ‘works’? To your managers? Funders? Boards? Government? Others?

Do you believe that creative community engagement ‘works’, but don’t know how to ‘prove’ this? Believe you have ‘evidence’ to ‘prove’ that creative community engagement works, but what you know, feel, experience, capture or report to your managers, funders, boards, policymakers or others doesn’t count as ‘evidence’?

Do you feel that health is linked to human connectivity and solidarity in some way, but don’t know how make this sound ‘scientific’ enough to be taken seriously? Do you need to ‘measure’ intangible things like trust, relationships or empathy (‘soft’ attributes that are actually quite ‘hard’ to make sense of) and vary (what’s happiness to me, isn’t happiness to you)? Do you want to change the way things are?

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”

– Viktor E. Frank, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’

If you’re a community-based practitioner, you’ll be very familiar with asset-based approaches and guidance offered on how to ‘do’ or ‘evaluate’ them. You’ll also know how tricky this is to implement in the ‘real world’. There are barriers aplenty; most of them linked to a ‘lack of’ something – capacity, resources, time, trust to name but a few.

The challenges of our time are all too real.

Here we explore the use of a co-produced methodological and conceptual framework to measure impacts of community engagement approaches on health and inequalities developed with the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, black minority ethnic (BME) communities and third sector.

The co-produced Asset-Based Indicator Framework (ABIF) offers a mechanism for capturing changes in health and wellbeing when asset-based approaches are applied. If co-produced with a marginalised community, it helps us understand the reasons underpinning inequality for that particular community (at individual, community and structural levels). It also helps us identify the outcomes community members want to achieve to improve their health and change their circumstances.

The framework is not intended to be prescriptive – it can (and should) be adapted flexibly by practitioners and community members depending on circumstances and settings. It offers a way of thinking, a way of being, a way of doing, a way of collecting data, a way of objectifying the subjective – accessing ‘truth’ from diverse communities through creative community engagement. And then convincing policymakers that sometimes the only way we can access ‘truth’ and ‘evidence’ from the most marginalised in our society is through creative community engagement.

Introduction

The Asset-Based Indicator Framework (ABIF) was created to:

  • work with communities to identify and capture “soft” outcomes inherent in asset-based working.

  • show how these outcomes link to local, national and international targets, measures and policies. (Or maybe they don’t. Maybe outcomes and targets identified by community members aren’t aligned with performance measurements and policies. Could this be an opportunity for change?)

  • evidence changes (if any) in health, wellbeing and equity linked to asset-based work over time.

  • evaluating creative community engagement.

  • monitor the effectiveness of asset-based work to engage community members and co-produce services.

  • monitor and account for asset- based activity across topics and services (beyond health).

This is not an exhaustive list of what the framework could be used for. These are prompts – the start of a conversation to be continued in the community of practice.

Creative Engagement

The journey of using the co-produced ABIF – or co-producing ‘your version’ of the ABIF with the community you’re working with – progresses over five stages. Framework application starts the first time you engage with a community, which could also be the first time you should start capturing data (if you’ve already established a relationship with community members).

Context

To monitor changes in health and inequalities through creative community engagement, you first need to be aware of the context in which the engagement is happening. Without context, the data collected might be meaningless and changes difficult to understand.

Process

ABIF application involves understanding the ‘who?’ ‘what?’ why?’ and ‘how?’ of your community engagement project.

Indicators

Next, identify and define the indicators – assets or attributes – that are important to the community. The ones they want to develop and experience change in. The ones they want to progress in order to achieve outcomes (that they get to specify). The indicator list we use is a template for departure informed by the literature and our application of the framework.

Evaluation

This leads to the identification of outcomes that community members want to achieve. Three main outcomes are relevant to asset-based working – process, change and quality of life outcomes.

Policy

Finally, link community identified assets and outcomes to local, national and international policies.

The ABIF is co-produced with communities. As communities are comprised of community members, the ABIF captures changes at individual and community levels. It also captures changes at the structural level.

POLICY

LOCAL

NATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL

EVALUATION

PROCESS

QUALITY OF LIFE

CHANGE

INDICATORS

INDIVIDUAL

COMMUNITY

STRUCTURAL

PROCESS

WHO?

WHY?

WHAT?

HOW?

Context

HOW DOES CONTEXT INFLUENCE THE ENGAGEMENT?

What is the social, cultural and political context in which the engagement is happening?

How might the context of the engagement have an impact on the development of trust between you and the community?

How can trust be built in the specific context?

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EACH INDICATOR IN RELATION TO THE CONTEXT

IN WHICH THE ENGAGEMENT IS TAKING PLACE?

HOW DOES CONTEXT INFLUENCE THE FORMATION OF OUTCOMES?

What are the contextual factors that determine the outcomes? Community? Policy? Environment? Other?

The first level of ABIF application is called PROCESS.

It is intended to happen before the actual engagement with the community

and to serve as baseline for further co-production of ABIF.

The Process consists of four main steps:

PROCESS

Who?

Why?

What?

How?

Who... are you engaging with?

IDENTIFY THE COMMUNITY THAT YOU ARE WORKING WITH

What are the defining characteristics of the community?

Ethnicity? Gender? Organisation? Issues? Age? Education? Geographic? Other?

DETERMINE WHETHER OTHER PARTNERS SHOULD BE INVOLVED

Government? Voluntary sector? Public sector? Other?

WHO ARE YOU?

What is your professional role? What is your organisations vision, culture, aims and strategies?

Are your individual aims aligned with those of your organisation?

PROCESS

Why... are you engaging with this community?

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACHIEVE FROM THIS ENGAGEMENT?

In the short, medium and long-term? What would you like to know? What would you like to change?

What is the relevance of engaging now? Does the community want to engage for the same reasons as you?

IS THERE A REASON WHY YOU ARE ENGAGING WITH THIS COMMUNITY NOW?

What is the policy context? Is there a pressing issue? Is there something the community wants?

PROCESS

What... are you going to do?

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO ENGAGE?

Creative approaches – music, theatre, singing, art, food, sport, media?

Participatory action research? Community asset mapping? Other?

WHICH IS THE MOST APPROPRIATE ENGAGEMENT METHOD FOR THIS COMMUNITY?

Have you looked at good practices to inform your method of engagement?

WHO ARE YOU?

What is your professional role? What is your organisations vision, culture, aims and strategies?

Are your individual aims aligned with those of your organisation?

PROCESS

How... are you capturing data?

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CAPTURE AND RECORD DATA SYSTEMATICALLY?

What is the most appropriate way of collecting data from the community you are engaging with?

Pictures? Reflective diaries? Questionnaires? Semi-structured interviews? Video? Audio? Drawing? Other?

IS DATA RECORDED TOGETHER WITH COMMUNITY MEMBERS?

Do community members know what data is recorded? What data is important to them?

What are the challenges related to the recording practice?

HOW OFTEN ARE YOU GOING TO ENGAGE?

A single event? Weekly? Quarterly? Monthly? Other?

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED ANY ETHICAL ISSUES? ARE THERE RISKS TO THE COMMUNITY?

How are you going to store the information safely? Has the data been anonymised?

How are you going to store the information safely? Has the data been anonymised?

Have you provided an information sheet with the reason of engagement and a consent form?

PROCESS

The second level of the application is to define the INDICATORS

important to the community.

These thirteen indicators should serve as a starting point for your engagement,

but are not prescriptive.

Identifying what indicators are important to the community will allow us to capture

changes the communities want to see.

Ideally indicators should be determined at the start of a community engagement

(captured at baseline to determine how things are for a community

at the start of the process), throughout the engagement process

and at the ‘end’ of a co-produced initiative (if there is one).

INDICATORS

Use the following 13 indicators

as a starting point

How do community members ’understand’ and ‘define’ each of these indicators? Are they all relevant to the community?

If not, which indicators are important to the community?

To understand more about the change process, look into the relationship between the indicators.

It will also be interesting to see how community members understand each indicator

at an individual, community and structural level.

INDICATORS

Outcomes

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED CAPTURING PROCESS, CHANGE AND QUALITY OF LIFE OUTCOMES?

Process outcomes are related to community’s experiences of using a service.

Change outcomes refer to the improvements that community members are seeking.

Quality of life outcomes include features of a person’s whole life that they are working towards achieving or maintaining

in partnership with services and other forms of support.

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED CAPTURING SHORT, MEDIUM AND LONG-TERM OUTCOMES?

WHAT IS THE ENDPOINT THAT YOU WANT TO REACH THROUGH THE ENGAGEMENT?

Consider what activities and processes would be required to achieve it.

HOW DOES YOUR ENGAGEMENT WORK?

What is the process by which change comes for this particular community?

EVALUATION

EVALUATION

Measurement of ABIF indicators

Questionnaires with feeling scales

Time-use diaries

Reflective diaries

Questionnaires

Semi-structured interviews

Framework for the evaluation of spirituality

The Basic Needs Satisfaction

in General Scale (BNSG-S)

Self-determination Scale (SDS)

Self-rated health measures

Observation

Creative activities

Converstations

Semi-structured interviews

Relationship mapping

Weekly diaries

Observation of group dynamics

Helping Attitudes Scale

Self-reported questionnaires

Behavioural tools EEG, EMG

Ethnographic observation

Interviews

Drawings or photographs of environment

Policy

LINK OUTCOMES TO LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL POLICIES OR ACTION PLANS

ABIF in Action

Measuring Humanity: The Pilot

Measuring Humanity: The Pilot

Measuring Humanity in Action

Measuring Humanity In Action

Participatory-action research…

Participatory-action research...

How to apply the ABIF

How to apply the ABIF

Frequently Asked Questions

What if community members aren’t convinced that change can happen? 2017-11-02T12:29:51+00:00

Listen, acknowledge community members’ feelings, respond empathetically and try to understand community members’ concerns and the barriers preventing change. This in itself is a useful process to identify outcomes for a particular community.

What if community members want to add a new indicator? 2017-11-02T12:29:51+00:00

Community members may indeed change or add new indicators to their co-produced framework. It’s important for you to understand what each indicator means to a particular community. How would they define this additional asset or attribute?

What if community members can’t make sense of all indicators? 2017-11-02T12:29:51+00:00

The indicators are provided as a starting point for engagement and aren’t intended to be prescriptive. It’s expected that community members may not wish to include some of the indicators in their co-produced framework. Some attributes or assets may not meaningful to them. If, however, community members want you to give them a definition of the ‘unclear’ indicators you can refer to Definitions of Indicators.pdf.

What if there are significant differences in the rating between individuals? 2017-11-02T12:29:51+00:00

Discuss this in the group and determine how it might impact the process of prioritising the aims of the engagement.

What if community members ask whether they should rate the indicators from an individual or community perspective? 2017-11-02T12:29:52+00:00

Encourage community members to think about their preference and leave the choice to them. Your role is to note the choice they have made and to understand why they have made it.

What if community members are illiterate? 2017-11-02T12:29:52+00:00

Ask community members how they would prefer to discuss or capture information. Do they want to draw, sing or act instead? Filming? Audio? Other means of data capturing?

What if your own perceptions and potential biases about a community are not aligned with how a community defines itself? 2017-11-02T12:29:52+00:00

Reflect on how this might impact your work with the community. Reflexivity is crucial. Capturing how your perceptions change during this process is central to evidencing process outcomes as these are related to community members’ experiences of using a service.

What if you are not clear about how to define the community? 2017-11-02T12:29:52+00:00

You really want to know how communities ‘define’ themselves. Are individuals within the community comfortable with the ‘categorisation’ you have in mind? It may be that you’re putting community members in a ‘box’ that they don’t identify with (for example, BME).

What if community members think that you are not seeking genuine engagement and this is tokenistic? 2017-11-02T12:29:52+00:00

Co-production involves building trust and sustaining relationships. It is crucial to engage on a continuous basis (what is reasonable) and not parachute in to a community to suit organisational objectives. This is important to capture quality of life outcomes (the perceived quality of an community member’s daily life). Be transparent about lack of resources and capacity so the community is aware of the challenges you face. Stay engaged in open conversation. Radical honesty all the way!

What if what you want is different to what the community wants? 2017-11-02T12:29:53+00:00

Part of the process of co-production involves understanding differences and negotiating potential ways forward. Capturing how you negotiate differences is central to process outcomes and change outcomes – it’s related to communities’ experiences of services and will help you understand what improvements community members are seeking.

What if the community is not open for you to engage in existing activities? 2017-11-02T12:29:53+00:00

Building trust with the community is fundamental to the process of co-production. Try to understand why the community does not want you to be a part of this process. Is there a way to build trust and convince them of your intentions over time? Tracking changes in perceptions of trust is an integral part of evaluating your engagement.

What if resources and capacity are problems? 2017-11-02T12:29:53+00:00

Think of ways in which the community is already engaging in creative activities. Can you join them? Is there a way to link up with other organisations to pool resources and capacity? Maybe others are already engaged with a particular community and you could get involved too? Perhaps you can apply for joint funding to develop and sustain your engagement? Be creative and also critical – it’s important to be vocal about the support you need to work in this way.

What if community members do not want to engage in the way you are suggesting? 2017-11-02T12:29:53+00:00

How you engage should be negotiated with the community. Community members should feel that they are being listened to and there is a shared understanding. Some may lean towards the arts (singing, dancing, theatre, music or other). Others may want to be outdoors in greenspaces or in the kitchen. As long as it’s feasible and ethical, anything may be possible!

What if community members do not feel comfortable with the way you want to collect data? 2017-11-02T12:29:54+00:00

The idea is to collect data from community members in the way that feels most appropriate to them. They should have a chance to voice how and why they think the method they’re proposing is more appropriate than others. For example, literacy may be an issue so visual methods more fitting. You should also negotiate how data will be shared. Are there any ethical issues. Is the community happy to sign informed consent sheets?

What if change does not happen? 2017-11-02T12:29:54+00:00

By now you’ll have worked through the process; identified what indicators are important to a community and what they mean to community members; determined how best to collect data to ‘evidence’ changes in health and wellbeing as engagements progress; identified outcomes aligned with relevant policies; and continued to engage and collect data over a specified (realistic) period of time. But maybe, according to community members, nothing’s changed for them. Reflect on the reasons for this. You should have established strong relationships with community members by this stage so gathering honest responses will help to further understand barriers and potential ways for overcoming them.

What if community members show resistance or a disbelief that change can happen? 2017-11-02T12:29:54+00:00

Listen, acknowledge feelings, respond empathetically and encourage support. If you accept people’s response, they will continue to tell you how they are feeling. This will help you respond to some of their concerns.

What if community members do not agree with the outcomes you want to achieve? 2017-11-02T12:29:54+00:00

Your role is to understand what outcomes are important to community members. What is it that they want to achieve? What support do they say they will need to achieve these outcomes?