Soft outcomes measurement project to be enlarged

A research centre in Norwich plans to expand its programme for measuring soft outcomes to more voluntary organisations.

The Research Centre at City College Norwich developed the Soft Outcomes Universal Learning Record, known as the Soul Record, with the help of 40 voluntary sector groups. It is designed to teach people working in the sector how to demonstrate their achievements to funding bodies, management and local government.

The Soul Record is used to assess services for adults in three areas: attitude, personal and interpersonal skills, and practical skills. For children and young people, progression is measured against the five outcome areas of the Every Child Matters programme.

Clayton Anderson, project manager of the Soul Record, said it was keen to expand the tool because it worked so well. He said: “It was developed by people in the voluntary sector for people in the voluntary sector. We’ve created a system that is usable every day. Anyone, from one-man-in-a-shed charities to multinational organisations, can use it.”

It has trained 600 people from the UK and the Republic of Ireland since the scheme was launched in February 2006. Now it wants to train more workers.

New users will be trained in the Soul Record in the Midlands and Coventry in early 2008. Discussions have begun with organisations in London about the development of a training centre in the capital.

Last week, Charities Evaluation Services announced the expansion of its PQASSO performance management tool (Third Sector Online, 26 November). As part of the new development, charities will assess each other. Those that meet the standards will be awarded a quality mark that will vouch for their viability.

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