As an organisation which strives for excellence in all that it does , Forum asked itself the question : “How do we know that we make a positive impact on the lives of young people?” It is easy to claim that we do, but can we demonstrate that we do?
Forum prides itself on the many ways in which service users, and other stakeholders, can become involved with the way that the organisation works and develops; shareholder involvement including some ex-residents, the development of coaching based services which are strongly person-centred, the involvement – and in some cases the leadership – of young people in Forum events linked to Open Talent, and other examples. The extent of this involvement and its central place in the way that our organisation has developed, and continues to do so, is one of the factors which differentiates our service from that provided by many other organisations.
We believe that this is good practice – indeed BEST practice to some extent – but, to return to the original question “How do we know that we make a positive impact….?” , another factor which differentiates our practice from that of many others is the work being undertaken to clearly demonstrate the impact of our services in terms of outcomes for young people.
We have commissioned the work of a consultant to undertake a Social Return on Investment study on a number of our services. Their early findings have been incredibly positive and we are currently integrating methods to demonstrate the outcomes that we have helped young people to achieve for themselves and, in addition, to be able to demonstrate that those outcomes last for young people long after they have moved on into independent living.