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Salvos honoured at SIMNA Awards for social impact research



BY ANTHONY CASTLE

 

The Salvation Army’s Research team was recently recognised as a runner-up in Excellence in Social Impact Measurement at the 9th Annual SIMNA Awards.

 

Since December 2020, the team has been working with the Youth Streams to develop and implement the National Youth Services Outcomes Measurement Framework to assess and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of their interventions.

 

Following a 12-month pilot phase and a comprehensive feedback process, the national rollout of the framework was completed in July 2023.

 

“We wanted to know when and where there are impacts in young people’s lives,” explains Johana Susanto, Executive Manager of the Research team.

 

“To what extent do we fulfil our Mission and Vision? How do we transform Australia, one life at a time, with the love of Jesus? It’s part of The Salvation Army’s Stronger Communities Outcomes Measurement project, where each key stream has their own outcomes framework that can be reported into The Salvation Army’s overarching framework to understand our organisation’s impact in Australia.”

 



The outcome measurement tool is a validated assessment of clients at intake and exit, considering their holistic outcomes relevant to the stream’s model of care. It also gathers feedback about the services, such as client satisfaction, experiences, and any suggestions they might have. Various stakeholders collaborated to refine the framework’s structure and functionality, while the pilot phase served as a testing ground.

 

“The assessment about the outcomes is holistic, with discussions about desirable outcomes at intake and exit,” says Johana.

 

“For example, there is discussion about social capital and connection to culture, which weren’t normally discussed in some programs before outcomes measurement implementation. We also hear about some holistic outcomes of what the clients are hoping to achieve. It helps personalised support plans and referrals to help clients achieve their desired goals. It’s reducing a worker’s potential bias and driving self-assessment for the client.”

 

The Salvation Army’s Youth Services offer an integrated suite of targeted programs that engage young people across Australia on their journey to independence. Service delivery responses include matters relating to alcohol and other drugs, chaplaincy, driver training, employment and training, education, and homelessness. The Youth Services Outcomes Measurement Framework is helping to make The Salvation Army’s support and referrals more targeted, according to the holistic needs of young people.

 

“We are giving an opportunity for people accessing our services to have their say and reflect on their progress,” Johana explains. “Another aspect is that it helps us to understand our impact, areas where we could do better, and systemic barriers to achieving desirable outcomes that can inform our advocacy. The evidence of impact is no longer anecdotal, and the community members themselves help us to improve the process in a timely manner.”

 

SIMNA, the knowledge-sharing network for social impact measurement, celebrated The Salvation Army's work at a virtual ceremony on 30 November 2023.


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