What we do
The Outreach & Community Involvement team (OCI) exists to help people in the local areas around our palaces to be engaged with them, particularly those people who have real or perceived barriers, including cultural, social, financial and physical.
As an organisation, we have a Cause: to help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society in some of the greatest palaces ever built. The work of the OCI team goes to the heart of Historic Royal Palaces’ purpose, and through evaluation, we can ensure that not only do we achieve this, but that we do it to a high quality, meeting learning and social outcomes, and delivering a positive experience for participants.
How we do this
We recognise that every group of people that we work with, and every project that we run, is unique, hence we do not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to collecting information for evaluation. Rather, we are guided by our Evaluation Strategy, which provides a range of tips, tools and expectations, but leaves the choice of methods to the project manager based on their knowledge of what is appropriate and reasonable. Forms of evaluation can range from audio recording to comments cards, smiley-face/sticky dot scales to feedback forms, noting comments to keeping diaries, and more.
The feedback is brought together by the project manager, who then uses our ‘Impact Evaluation’ form to record an overview of the whole project, citing evidence from feedback and other information.
When appropriate we produce much longer reports if it is felt that a project should be assessed in great detail, for example, if a project has received external funding and run over several years, this may require a substantial document. We will sometimes use external evaluators to undertake these reports.
The key things we ask ourselves for every project, visit, event or resource produced are:
1. Did this help to fulfil Historic Royal Palaces’ Cause?
2. Did this meet learning outcomes?
3. Did this meet social outcomes?
4. Did this meet with the priorities of our local area?
We often rate the extent to which our activities have answered these questions on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest). Of course, not every project will meet with every single social outcome, every single learning outcome, and so on, but these questions are a guide for the things we should be looking to achieve across the Outreach & Community Involvement programme.