Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Evaluating online engagement

I’ve mentioned before that we all really need to start evaluating the online engagement stuff we’re all doing. Alice Casey‘s presentation provides some great pointers for where to start and what to consider:

My main argument was that a good evaluation tells a compelling story through combining qualitative and quantitative information in a clear format to key decision makers and practitioners.

Empowerment packs from the gov’t

The Department for Communities and Local Government have released something called a ‘Community Power Pack‘:

The Community Power Pack has been created to help local groups to organise and facilitate discussions on the topic of empowerment. The pack contains suggestions for the format of the meeting, advice for facilitators and organisers as well as detailed information about key empowerment issues. Your feedback will be used by Communities and Local Government to inform and shape empowerment activities, including the Empowerment White Paper.

It’s been created with Involve, and looks interesting. So what does it look like?

Well, first of all there is a 57 page PDF file. The introduction claims that it is published under a creative commons licence, but it doesn’t look like a CC licence I have ever seen before:

This publication, excluding logos, may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium for research, private study or for internal circulation within an organisation. This is subject to it being reproduced accurately  and not used in a misleading context. The material must be acknowledged as Crown copyright and the title  of the publication specified.

But never mind. It’s actually quite a nice idea, trying to get people to discuss issues around empowerment through their existing groups. The idea is that the results of the discussions will be a part of the eventual white paper on empowerment, and the power pack itself will be updated as feedback on the process itself is returned.

I do wonder why this wasn’t just done as a website, rather than a document, in the first place. For example, the method for returning views is a ‘Recording Sheet’ (in Word format, for goodness’ sake, what’s so hard about saving stuff in RTF?) which could have been simpler by just sticking in online. And if the power pack itself is going to change, why not just keep the most recent content live as a website? Would be much easier for everyone. To be fair, there is an opportunity for individuals to give their feedback at the DCLG forums but why not make an online response – through something other than a forum, preferably – the default?

The main content in the pack is a list of different activities can can be run at a get together to produce some answers as a group. It’s good stuff and nicely presented with plenty of supporting information.

I do just wonder how many people are actually going to be using these things, though! It does just seem an awful lot of work for folk to do. But at least it is an attempt, apparently, of the government trying to listen to people’s views – it just feels a bit controlling and overly processy to me.