LEAP Planning & Evaluation Cycle / Step 5

Step 5. How useful was it and what did we learn?

Step 5 is about evaluation, learning and planning ahead.  Evaluation involves assessing our progress to determine whether or not the outcomes were achieved.  Using the indicators agreed in Step 2, evidence should have been collected as we went along.  This evidence is the basis for assessing how far the inputs, processes and outputs (Step 3) led to the outcomes planning at Step 1.

But we will also want to know whether other things have happened that we did not anticipate and whether these are positive and negative.  It is also important to consider how the roles played by the various stakeholders had an impact on what happened and how it happened.  This is the learning part of Step 5.  Only when all the above information has been gathered together can participants make a full review of progress and agree what needs to be done next.

The critical questions to ask include:

  • Do we have the evidence and information we need?
  • What have we learning about the appropriateness of the methods chosen and out capacity to work with them?  Looking at the outputs - the things we have done - should provide some evidence about this and about the way the work has been carried out.  For example, have our actions been well planned, has there been good quality support, advice or guidance provided, how have we dealt with any problems or obstacles?
  • What has been learned about the inputs or resources we have at our disposal: our budget and its use, our staff and their deployment, partner projects or departments and their actual or potential contribution, the policy and strategic framework in which we operate?
  • What has been learned about the theory of our project?  In other words, to what extent have the actions we've taken led to the outcomes sought?  If we have succeeded, what have been the factors that contributed to that success and why?  If there have been failures, why have there been failures and what have we learned so we might succeed next time?
  • What has the impact of our work been?  What evidence is there of change in partnership culture and practice?  Is there change in the quality of pepoles lives etc?  How much of this change can be ascribed to the work of our project - what could (or would not) have happened if our project had not been there?
  • Do we have useful evidence and indicators, or lessons that we can share with others?
  • Has the project been effective?  To what extent has it brought about the changes it intended?
  • Has the project been efficient?  Has it brought about change at a reasonable cost (of money, time and energy)?
  • Has the project been equitable?  Has it targeted people with the greatest need for the service?  What steps have we taken to ensure that equalities issues have been identified and addressed?