Recording real lives
A new initiative has been launched, initially in Birmingham, which aims to encourage and enable disconnected people to directly influence how health and social care policy is determined.
The Impact Assessment App project will focus on developing and refining a tool that works as an app, which will allow frontline workers in a charity and a social enterprise to capture information about how they are helping people – in the words of the people being helped. This frank ‘straight from the streets’ feedback will also help service providers and policy makers alike to more easily identify any gaps in service provision.
A direct and daily influence
The project is being run by Podnosh, a company that uses ‘social media for social good’, employing web-based technology to help change the way that the public and the public sector talk to each other.
Although it is aware that a single innovation won’t solve far greater social care issues, Podnosh hopes that the Impact Assessment App will start the journey by helping third sector organisations to save money at the same time as capturing the many unintended outcomes of their work and presenting them in a practically usable way to policy decision makers.
By establishing a flow of information from local living rooms and streets and turning that into useful information to help policy makers shape what they do, the company expects that enterprising third sector organisations will thrive and win more useful and better contracts to improve people’s lives.
Building on real experiences
Ultimately, the app has the potential to effectively shift the culture and method of public sector consultation. Using a simple tool to measure the impact of third sector organisations means that policy will be built on the real experiences of the disconnected and disadvantaged, as actually recorded in the daily work of community health teams.
The Impact Assessment App will allow workers on the ground to record free text of how their clients say they are being helped and connect that to simple video and audio stories that document the difference they make and the gaps in services that are being identified. This content will then be analysed for trends and intended and unintended consequences, with the resulting combined and cohesive data presented to policy makers in a clear and usable way.