Evidencing the vital role that frontline services play in responding to destitution is critical for effective influencing of decision-makers about the policies that create such problems in the first place, and in the process of identifying and strengthening good practice models to demonstrate how it can be prevented. As part of our commitment towards these aims, we are delighted to share how we plan to use funding from Lloyds Bank Foundation to better support our members with developing data capture tools.
About the project
Watch Lucy Smith, NACCOM’s Campaigns and Policy Coordinator, and David Waterfall, the data consultant appointed to work with NACCOM, discuss the key aspects of our new project in the short interview below.
Why is data important for NACCOM’s work
At NACCOM our work with members to capture useful, non-identifiable, robust data that speaks to the needs and experiences of people requiring accommodation and facing destitution across the network has developed over several years. We are constantly learning from, and feeding back to, members about how to effectively log information that demonstrates impact and evidences the need for change and we do this because we think data makes a difference, in two main ways:
1) Good data helps develop and deliver better services
We know that data gathering, especially for small and medium-sized organisations, can be tricky. Whether it is technical know-how, team ‘buy-in’, or the precious time required to input information, we regularly hear from members about how challenging it can be. Yet we also know how worthwhile it can be – when operating in a way that suits the organisation’s capacity and needs. Done right, data can make it clearer where the gaps are in services to improve service delivery, identify changing needs to help projects plan more strategically and make it easier to apply or report back to funders or communicate successes to supporters. It can bring enormous value to an organisation when they begin to use (or better use existing) data, and it can bring value to others at different points in the process when this learning is shared.
2) Good data helps develop arguments for lasting change
We know the value that evidence plays in forming the case for change. It is essential that as campaigners and advocates, we find accessible and impactful ways to share the issues created by destitution and homelessness and the changes needed to address these. A crucial element here is the role of story gathering, and we are committed to this through our work with people with lived experience in the development of both our research and advocacy work. Yet we know that as impactful and vital as stories are, there is also a crucial role for data gathering. Capturing evidence of what the gaps are, where the need is, who the most marginalised or affected are, and how positive change can and does happen are all essential parts of the wider picture that data can help draw out.
We have seen the benefits of collective data capture over the last few years within the network, most notably through the information that members capture and share with us through the annual survey. See the 2019-20 Impact report for analysis from last year’s survey, and see our Resources page for other examples of evidence gathering work. We know that members and partners are keen to see their valuable insights used to influence decision-makers more effectively and see huge potential in the information that members could- or already do – collect towards this common goal.
What is the new project and how can members get involved?
Funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation, we have commissioned a data consultant, David Waterfall, to help members improve data capture systems and develop influencing opportunities. Working with organisations over the next five months, David will support members to achieve key shared objectives.
The first phase of the project focuses on improvements to NACCOM’s annual survey, to ensure it is as effective as possible whilst bringing benefit to members. To do this, we are investing time to learn from the challenges and barriers that organisations can face, as well as understanding why it is easier for some than others to complete, with the goal of making it more user-friendly.
The second phase is going to focus on supporting members to strengthen existing – or explore new – tools to enable effective data collection that will benefit their work and service delivery. There will be workshops and resources that will develop common frameworks for data capture, and it will be a great opportunity for members to get direct support – wherever they are on their ‘data journey’.
The third phase will be in partnership with Asylum Matters, who work in a complementary way to NACCOM through their work with partners to collate evidence for campaigning work. Working together with a smaller, more targeted number of organisations, this piece of the project will build on learning and explore new ways to capture and share evidence for agreed influencing purposes.
Get in touch
Throughout the next few months, there will be lots of opportunities for learning and dissemination of good practice, and we look forward to introducing you to David and the different pieces of work in the weeks ahead. If you want to get in touch to find out more, please email [email protected].