Abstracts: March 31st, 2008

This report from Communities and Local Government describes the result from a pilot project to find out how evidence and research data can be better used in neighbourhood renewal. The project provided technical assistance to local strategic partnerships and neighbourhood renewal partnerships to improve planning, evaluation and decision-making.

The pilot project showed that effective use of evidence is especially important in partnerships to mobilise support and demonstrate success in delivering better services and in achieving shared outcomes. Using evidence in this way requires investment in information resources and in the skills of accessing, analysing and interpreting data. Some 80 per cent of partnership managers identified skills gaps within their partnership, most frequently in relation to interpreting and challenging data.

The skill gaps include knowing how to ‘create anarrative’ from data analysis, assessing the quality of evidence, constructive questioning of partners, and developing shared understanding across neighbourhood renewal themes. Some 40 per cent of partnership managers indicated that limits on available analytical skills had hampered partnership performance, especially in slowing progress in ‘closing the gap’ on neighbourhood renewal targets. Expertise in statistical techniques, ITapplications, indicator selection, and target setting are in short supply.

The report is available from Communities and Local Government. http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/doc/20