Evaluation and Auditing

What is Evaluation?

Evaluation is about gathering information or feedback from everyone involved about the effectiveness of the community relation activities. Evaluation gives you the information that allows you to ‘fine tune’ or ‘carry out major repairs’ on your project or program.

Evaluation should be conducted as an ongoing and be an integral part of continuous improvement rather than just one final evaluation at the end. However, depending on what you are evaluating will often influence when you can evaluate.

When we collect information to use for evaluation purposes it is important to always consider the question of ethical practices. Whenever we ask people for their opinions and judgments about aspects of their involvement or impact we are entering a very private domain.

Planning for evaluation must be done before the program begins.

Evaluation Criteria

There are several requirements that all evaluation methods must meet. No matter which method you select it should satisfy the following five criteria.

Valid – does the evaluation method measure what it is designed to measure?

Reliable – is the information that the evaluation method has gathered consistent?

Clear – all instructions and information given to the person providing feedback should be clear and simple to understand.

Brief – keep the extent of the evaluation – the number of questions, for example – to a manageable level.

Economical – the method that you use should not be too time consuming or costly to administer and analyse.

Four key evaluation steps

In designing an evaluation program, we need to look at four steps:

1. What is success?

2. What will measure success?

3. How will we gather data?

4. What does the data mean and how will we use it?

Evaluation methods

There are many methods that you can use to evaluate your project or program, including: Observation; Interviews; Cost-benefit analysis; Questionnaires.

At Taking Action we have developed a variety of community and stakeholder engagement evaluation tools and metrics used for:

  • Boards: To ensure appropriate governance Boards need the right tools, systems and processes to ensure they deliver the best possible outcomes for their organisations.
  • Leadership teams: to ensure that projects succeed and key performance indicators are being met leadership teams need the right information at the right time to give confidence to project or initiative owners (whether they are internal or external to the organisation)
  • Project owner representatives: they need to know that all the work being undertaken is meeting the stakeholder and community expectations
  • Project team members: the team wants to know that all their efforts are being recognised and should improvements be necessary they want to know quickly rather than at the end of the activities when it is too late

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Community Relations Audit

The easy to use audit tool we have developed for community relations incorporates a range of indicators that include:

  • Complaints
  • Enquires
  • Media attention (if appropriate)
  • Appearance of site
  • Presentation of employees/contractors
  • Noise
  • Safety and security
  • Understanding of project owner policies (eg. Talking to the media)
  • Site records and meetings
  • Restoration

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