We have undertaken two major Evaluations in Bedford Row Family Project since 2012/3. We believe that it is necessary to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of our work, both by attentive listening and reflection, and having an external eye reviewing our work.
In 2012 Bedford Row commissioned Gauge Ireland to undertake a major Evaluation. This was the first external evaluation that has taken place in the Project since the beginning and it focused primarily on the three years 2009 to 2011 inclusive.
These years were chosen as they marked the beginning of major initiatives in Bedford Row in response to our Research, ‘Voices of Families Affected by Imprisonment’ which was launched in 2008. (Click here to read this Research).
We chose the Social Return on Investment model of Evaluation as we wished to evaluate our Social Impact. One of the intentions of the SROI Evaluation was to inform investors as to what social return they could expect for investing their money in Bedford Row.
In that way we were very happy with the result – we have always felt that we are reasonably good value for money! However we were also happy that participants in the Evaluation, both fellow workers and members of our focus group were so generous in the feedback that they gave to the Evaluators.
We were delighted that the Inspector of Prisons, Judge Michael Reilly, launched this Evaluation on 13 May 2013. Judge Reilly’s speech can be read by clicking on Judge Reilly’s Speech at Launch of Evaluation; 23 May 2013
Evaluation of Family Support and Crisis Intervention Course
Modern developments in neuroscience will have profound implications for how we help people in the future, and in Bedford Row we wish to be fully abreast of developments in this field.
As the purpose of the Family Support and Crisis Intervention Course has protection of children affected by imprisonment at its core we felt that it would be important to evaluate the methods of education/instruction on the Course from the standpoint of how students’ brains might be developing as they undertake the Course.
We are passionate about good design in Bedford Row – after all poor design is wasteful of resources and bad for morale. We believe that if the qualities which are most needed to protect children e.g. love, warmth, security, trust, safety, (and creativity) are evident in an agencies’ structures, methods, or values the effectiveness of any support work offered is optimised.
Our aim was that this Evaluation would assess ‘what is changing’ from cognitive, emotional and affect points of view, describe what might be happening in the brain as the change is taking place, and determine what value this is to a student in terms of how s/he will be able, on graduation, to work more effectively with people who have suffered significant trauma.
In early 2013 we asked Prof Billy O’Connor, Professor of Neuroscience in Graduate Medical School, University of Limerick to conduct this Evaluation. (For anyone interested in neuroscience there is a link to Billy’s website ‘Inside the Brain’ here).
Well, we did not realise how thorough Billy’s evaluation would be – we learned a lot from it and it took a while for us to digest it fully! It was also very helpful when we were planning future courses and training in general. The full Evaluation can be read here and a Summary can be read by clicking here.