Demonstrating impact on health inequalities
Report of follow up peer learning session for Community Link Workers
This follow up session was for community link workers who had attended our training on 31 May 2022.
Steven Marwick from Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) gave a quick reminder of what was covered in May’s training and provided some tips on analysing and reporting. Participants shared evaluation learning, successes and challenges in evaluating their impact on health inequalities – and evaluation more generally.
These sessions are based on the resource Recognising our rich tapestry: measuring the contribution of third sector organisations to tackling health inequalities
We took a fairly informal approach, sharing ideas and practice interactively.
Evaluation: good ideas shared by the group
- For some clients it’s about recording the simple journey: issue/problem → solution/referral → happy client. Note quick wins.
- Referrals provide a baseline but it’s important to revisit these as you might discover the referral information wasn’t right once you learn more from the client.
- Working with the client to explore their progress and agree where they are at discharge stage provides rich evaluation data and helps the client reflect.
- Ask clients if you can follow up to see if they did go to where you referred them to. It’s useful to know if they don’t (e.g. “not for me”).
- Evaluating with colleagues:
- Exchange feedback if possible with GPs if they are doing the triage
- Multidisciplinary team feedback
- Using team meetings to reflect on evaluation data and learning
- Feedback from the service you referred to.
- Community events may provide opportunities for feedback.
- Tools include wellbeing scales and other scaled tools, satisfaction surveys
- Create “hurrah folders” for thank you cards and emails.
We shared good practice on writing case studies – see here for ESS’s guide.
- Clients are not always ready for change and may bounce back. It’s useful to recognise that this is inevitable and get a sense of ‘new’ versus ‘repeat’ clients.
- Some clients “come back” for good reasons – they have multiple issues and come back for help with another issue. This shows they trust the CLW.
- Relationship building is a key part of how to make a difference – but that’s hard with staff turnover.
- NHS recording systems do not always lend themselves to outcome-focused evaluation and reflection. It’s also not always clear what senior managers do with reports.
- Clients can get frustrated telling their stories multiples times. It would be better if systems and support were more joined up.
- Nationally there is a lot of information as well as recording systems – and sources of support. For example, could ALISS be made to work better for CLWs?
- Community Link Workers are all different but could there be a common quality improvement approach?
Feedback on this session
Participants said the session had been useful for:
- Reinforcing existing knowledge – reassurance
- Reminding them of the importance of getting feedback from clients and colleagues – we could be (even) better
- The value of composite case studies
- The importance of evaluation for blowing our own trumpets as well as identifying gaps and improvement
ESS reflection: It is challenging for CLWs to make time for evaluation, never mind to talk about it!
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Find out more about the SCLWN.