If a creative type were to make a word cloud of my many notes taken these past few months as I've travelled around meeting members and partners one of the biggest words shown would be EVIDENCE. Evidence is important. It is something many of you value and also something many of you find a real barrier and challenge. Everyone seems to want it - to fund, to commission, to support, to connect. There's not often a shared sense of what constitutes evidence consistently from one audience to another, or from one service or activity type to another.
But regardless of challenges, evidence is really key. Because we need to know what difference we are making - what we do best and what we could do better. We need to be able to pinpoint as charities the difference that can be attributed to us and identify what it is that we need to make that difference and what might threaten it.
At Clinks evidence is crucial. We advocate on behalf of the sector and its service users based on evidence. We lobby, we partner and we promote based on evidence. Our support offer is based on evidence of need. Evidence is key to what we do.
And we ourselves need to know what difference we make – to you, as voluntary organisations, and by extension the people you work with. We need to know what it is about what we do that helps and what we could do better. We need this evidence to allow us to plan for the future and to ensure we're always best informed as to what you need so we can respond. Evidence helps us to raise the money we need, make the cases for change we all need and promote the work done directly with offenders and their families which makes real differences in people's lives and communities.
We're collecting evidence right now to inform our impact assessment - to evidence our own impact. As the new Chief Executive I’ve relied heavily on the evidence presented to us from the sector in surveys and projects on a range of topics. I need to know how we’re doing, what we’re doing that really works for you and where there might be things we might do differently to be most impactful.
So I'm asking you to spare some time to let us know what impact we're having - to provide your thoughts and reflections of your experience of Clinks’ activities and their impact to help us assess where we're at and what we might want to work on to make sure we're best able to reach our shared goals.
Please complete a short survey here
Thanks in advance
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The RR3 special interest group on Covid-19 will today convene voluntary sector leaders to discuss what is needed to mitigate the impacts of the virus on CJS voluntary organisations and the service users they support. We'll publish the key points from the discussion in a blog.