NPC supported the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) to create theories of change for its various activities, and develop a framework for the organisation to be able to measure and report its impact.
National Children’s Bureau
NCB supports children, young people and families, as well as those who work with them, by promoting evidence-informed approaches and research, initiating new programmes and partnerships, and building the skills and networks of frontline practitioners. It is a large organisation with many different areas of work. As such, its research centre has historically focused on evaluating individual projects, paying less attention to the impact of the organisation as a whole.
NCB approached NPC to gain a more detailed understanding of the bigger picture, with the aim to develop clear theories of change and prioritise outcomes for measurement.
We agreed with NCB on three key areas of work. NPC conducted interviews and led workshops with a representative group of staff to inform theories of change for two out of the three, clarifying aims and discussing desired outcomes and the steps required to achieve them. NCB took over the same process for the third area of work and developed a theory of change, with NPC providing advice and guidance.
We then reviewed all existing data collection—where it gave strong information and where this was lacking—and made recommendations about how the organisation could improve its impact measurement practice. This included identifying appropriate measurement approaches for the priority outcomes highlighted in the theories of change, and advising on data collection. Our support extended to offering advice on how to roll out these improvements, through discussions of the challenges and reviewing internal briefing documents—a long-term process given the size and complexity of the organisation.
The three goals identified through the theory of change process—which relate to participation, vulnerable children, and prevention—have informed the organisation’s latest strategic plan, ensuring that these sit at the heart of what it does.