Section 4 - Reviewing

The final stage of the ACE process involves the community group reflecting on what they have done, reviewing progress they have made to achieve the identified outcomes, and identifying what needs to be done next. There are two main aspects of this stage:

  1. revisiting the assessment scores and comments that were made at the assessment stage (section 1, part 2) and re-scoring against all the elements to make an assessment of progress (or otherwise) over the course of the year; and

  2. reviewing progress made towards the outcomes identified at the planning stage (section 2, part 1).

This review should then help the group to identify progress made over the year and their priorities for future action, and to start to plan out the next stages of their work.

Part 1: Revisiting the assessment

When revisiting the original assessment categories it is often better to do this ‘blind’ with the community group not seeing their original scores. It is only after this that the original scores should be looked at and compared against the new scores. A discussion can then take place about how the community group has developed over the course of the year in relation to each element of the assessment process. This analysis will then guide future planning of the group’s development.

The scoring framework used throughout ACE is as follows.

6 = excellent
5 = very good
4 = good
3 = satisfactory
2 = weak
1 = unsatisfactory

Worked example: This worked example enables groups to review and score their progress. You can download a blank version of this worked example here.

Part 2: Outcomes review session

To review performance against the identified outcomes it is important that the community group have collected the relevant evidence to demonstrate their progress. Once the community group are happy that they have all the evidence they need, they should contact all relevant stakeholders to get their views of the progress before the review session (they may even decide to invite stakeholders to be part of the review session). This is particularly important if they have involved other partners in developing the plan and in being involved in putting the plan into practice.

The review session should be timed to take place after a suitable period. This will vary from group to group, but it is important that it shouldn’t just happen at the end of a piece of work. One of the main aspects of regular review is the opportunity for community groups to learn from what has happened, and use that learning to change and improve how they work, and the processes and activities they use to achieve their purposes.

The review session itself will focus on the original action plan with the outcomes clearly described and the associated indicators and evidence available for members to refer to. The community group should be asked to make an assessment of the extent to which they have met their planned outcomes, giving each outcome a score and the reasons and evidence for this.

Using a high-quality process does not always mean the best outcomes will have been achieved. It is essential to ask the direct question: ‘To what extent have the outcomes identified in the plan actually been achieved?’ Everyone who committed themselves to being involved will want to know the answer to this question. In relation to each outcome that was set in the action plan, the community group need to think about the following questions.

  1. To what degree have we met the needs we identified?
  2. To what degree have we achieved the outcome relating to these needs?
  3. Is there agreement about these answers or do different stakeholders have different views that should be recorded
Worked example: This worked example provides a way to examine the outcomes, indicators and evidence of a group's activity. You can also download a blank version of this worked example here.

Part 3: Overall review and reflection

The review of the community group’s progress against the assessment areas and agreed outcomes will lead into a more general review of the process the community group has been through. It is important that the community group takes the time to sit back and reflect on the process, what they have learned, and how that learning can be put into practice in the future. It will help the community group to think through which parts of the process were positive, and which could be applied in different ways in the future. Some important prompt questions for this stage in the process are as follows.

  1. What worked well and what didn’t?
  2. What have we learned from the process and how could this benefit our future development
  3. What happened that we didn’t plan for?
  4. What have we learned – about ourselves, about others and about our community? 
  5. What will we do now?

Next: Moving on & resources