Judging your success
To evaluate how successful you have been, you'll need to compare your progress with your plans and any targets, and then make a judgment about how much you've achieved.
Interpreting the information
- Assess your information carefully.
- Avoid making untested assumptions.
- Resist the temptation to generalise.
These all sound easy enough, but are very common mistakes. Discussing your interpretations with someone else, especially someone who might have a different perspective, is a very good way of limiting the number of assumptions and generalisations you will make.
Remember, most information can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Your task is to identify the most likely interpretation.
Set data in context and, when evaluating impact in particular, reflect on whether you have allowed enough time for them to be fully achieved.
You might also find it useful to benchmark your achievements against other organisations or even compare your current practice against your past performance. Find out more about benchmarking.
Deciding what caused a change
Establishing cause and effect can be difficult: how do you know that a particular service, product or activity was the cause of the change? For example, how do you know that your new service improved your users' self-confidence?
Three things can help with this:
1. Don't worry too much about proof. Reasonable evidence is what you need. After all, there is no burden of absolute proof in the legal system; people are sent to prison on the basis of reasonable evidence.
2. You can sometimes track the cause from the effect. For example, you could ask the users about the role that your new service played in bringing about improvements.
3. It's often enough to say you contributed to the outcome and to identify the other factors you think have played a part.
Rather than assess your own impact, you may prefer to appoint an external evaluator. Read more about the options of self-evaluation and external evaluation.
Using and communicating your findings
Advice and support
- Funding and finance
- Coping with cuts
- Addressing needs
- Managing change
- Planning for the future
- Involving people
- Public Service Delivery
- Governance and leadership
- Compact Advocacy programme
- Campaigning and influencing policy
- Collaborative working
- ICT (information and communication technology)
- Climate change
- People, HR and employment