At recent ASTF workshops, you asked for feedback from BIG on the additional monitoring information you supply as part of your ASTF reports. We asked Dave Hutchinson to tell us a bit about how they use this information.
Learning from our investments is an important part of BIG’s work. Each year we invest over £500m in the voluntary sector and we need to understand the impact of the work carried out by the projects we fund. In the case of ASTF, part of the funding comes from the Office for Civil Society (OCS), which is also keen to understand the impact of their investment.
So, how do we use the information you give us? The information you send us is recorded on a database along with that submitted by other ASTF projects. This enables us to get an overall picture of how the programme as a whole is progressing. For example the total cost saving achieved across all 228 projects; the different types of additional income identified; the extent to which benefits will be maintained when funding ends; which approaches have been most successful in increasing resilience. All of this contributes to our understanding of how well the programme has achieved its aims.
We report progress on ASTF to OCS on a regular basis and meet with them formally at a senior level every six months. We use these opportunities to provide particularly good examples from the additional monitoring information you have given us.
This is all very well, but how will this benefit you? As you know, Advice Service Alliance (ASA) is working with us to provide support to projects and gather and disseminate learning. Throughout the life of the projects, information has been gathered at all key monitoring points and this has helped identify examples of best practice as well as interesting developments that have been shared via the website, newsletters, events and forum. As the programme nears its end, ASA will analyse the information you have provided and make the main learning points available, not only to the ASTF projects, but to the advice sector as a whole. This will ensure that there is a legacy from the programme that will be of benefit to the advice sector going forward and hopefully help it to address the continuing challenges it faces.