Asset-Based Indicator Framework

Walking the streets of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Glasgow and using radio, theatre, singing and music to connect with diverse communities, I was trying to understand what it means to be ‘well’. How do different communities experience health? What stops some community members from accessing services? And what changes will ultimately lead to improvements in health and wellbeing for marginalised communities thereby reducing widening inequalities? These are some of the big questions that have been swirling in my head since 2013 when I first entered ‘the field’ for the project that would become Measuring Humanity.

The more I connected through creative community engagement, the more it seemed I got closer to accessing community members’ ‘truths’. The closer I got to understanding how lived experiences relate to health and wellbeing. The challenge was how to systematically capture these ‘softer’ outcomes against the more tangible ‘harder’ performance measures and targets saturating the health policy and practice landscape? How to develop and pilot a framework to evaluate and justify this type of work as this is what I was funded by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde to do?

I was to come up with a mechanism to capture data obtained through creative community engagement, asset-based working and co-production in a ‘meaningful and measurable’ way in order to monitor and evaluate asset-based approaches and applications in a way that links to organisational targets, outcomes and policies. And so the first step was to conceptualise an asset-based indicator framework (ABIF)–more below– and apply it with so called ‘hard-to-reach’ communities.

But the process threw up more questions and so Measuring Humanity was born supported by an ESRC Impact Accelerator Grant. A space for us push the boundaries of our critical thinking when it comes to evidence, targets and outcomes in health policy and practice. We reflected on our own ABIF concept which prompted questions as to whether measuring and applying metrics helped or impeded health system improvements and equality? Why are we obsessed with performance measurement and what are the unintended consequences? An opportunity to collectively change the way health and inequalities in community settings is understood and ‘measured’. A place to ‘validate the feels’. A chance to inform local, national and international policies on equality, community empowerment, poverty and sustainability from the bottom-up. A way to use these upstream approaches to challenge systemic issues and structural causes of inequalities.

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?

Asset-Based Indicator Framework: Origins

Throughout the site, you will spot the term ‘ABIF’ mentioned quite often. The Asset-Based Indicator Framework was the root of our early thinking back when Measuring Humanity was still in its infancy. It offered a mechanism for capturing changes in health and wellbeing when asset-based approaches were applied. When co-produced with a marginalised community, it helped us understand the reasons underpinning inequality for that particular community (at individual, community and structural levels). It also helped us identify the outcomes community members want to achieve to improve their health and change their circumstances.

If you’re a community-based practitioner, you may already 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. Since our ABIF days, our thinking has evolved, and now we are surfing post-qualitative shores. That being said, ABIF has been very beneficial in shaping our early thinking–we implemented it to explore how using a co-produced methodological and conceptual framework could help 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.

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

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