Evaluation: Difference between revisions

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Revision as of 09:55, 13 August 2018

Aims and objectives


How do we know that the Open Government Pioneers UK initiative is making a difference?

  • The evaluation of the core activities funded by the Big Lottery Fund UK will be delivered in partnership with an external consultant with expertise in this area selected by the Project board. Budget has been allocated for the consultants fee.
  • The evaluation of the equality activities will involve an equality impact assessment and further consultancy budget for specific equality expertise has been allocated for this.

We want the learn from the mistakes we make and build on the successes we create. Is there evidence that a diverse range of citizens and civil society are any closer to engaging the decisions that affect them as a result of the Open Government Pioneers Project UK?


Track progress towards the following four big outcomes.

  1. Empowered engaged citizens, leveraging their knowledge of SDGs.
  2. Political representatives have greater awareness of SDGs and types of actions required.
  3. Government officials have a better plan for involving citizens.
  4. Open government seen as instrumental, and a common good towards progressing SDGs.

Overall approach

  • To use an open and agile approach to monitoring, learning and evaluation
  • To assess how successful the project is at opening up government progress against the Sustainable Development Goals to citizen participation
  • To inform future activities that support Open Government approaches to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals

Beneficiary involvement

Beneficiary Involvement Sharing learning
Influencers - politicians, government officials, institutional partners As critical friends, advisors on positioning of the initiative and its outputs Learning shared via briefings and presentations
Participants - civil society activists, engaged citizens Directly involved in shaping the project's design, analysis and presentation from the start (using the Wiki and other digital platforms) Learning shared via collaborative Wiki and through Forums, including Forum polling
General Public e-petitions, social media, comments on new sites Learning shared via mainstream media reflective articles

Key questions

Question Suggestion Comments Agreed
Are the objectives SMART (i.e. achievable and measurable)?
Is the overall approach acceptable and ethical?
Have we got the right audiences to involve in this? Anyone missing?

How should the project be evaluated?

Proposed evaluation framework

NI Outputs 4 Webinars Theme of webinar; date delivered; numbers registered; participation feedback Analytics, narrative & participant survey NIEL Annually
4 Equality Events Theme; date delivered; numbers attended Analytics & narrative report NIEL Annually
1 National Conference Sessions delivered, themes, attendee numbers & feedback, outputs Analytics, narrative & participant survey All Post Conference
Blogs & practice to policy paper Themes, number produced, blog reads Analytics All Bi-annually
Awareness (Capacity) Articulation of issues Events, blogs, forum posts, wiki posts, website updates Analytics & narrative report All Bi-annually
Publicity & Promotion Tweets, articles, media coverage Analytics & narrative report All Bi-annually
Sharing (Learning) New approaches & tools used Itemisation of new tools & methods used Narrative report All Bi-annually
Methods & approaches shared with project partners and other stakeholders Details of new tools & methods shared Narrative report All Bi-annually
Participation (Engagement) New participants/members Forum registrations, twitter followers Analytics & narrative report All Bi-annually
New collaborations Number of new partners & collaborators Analytics & narrative report All Bi-annually
Digital platform interaction Number of website/platform visits & interactions Analytics All Bi-annually
Event & webinar attendees Number & demographic Analytics All Bi-annually
Influence (Outcomes/Impact) Progress with SDGs Implementation plan Narrative report All Bi-annually
Citizen involvement Participation opportunities created Narrative report All Bi-annually
Policy influence Influence on government policy, for example, the PfG, SDG implementation plan Analytics & narrative report All Bi-annually
Transparency & accountability of process Government utilisation of OG methods in the planning & implementation process Narrative report All Bi-annually

Agile learning approach

  • Initial data collected in the first quarter of the project will form a baseline (against the Data subjects in the table below)
  • An assessment will be made of any changes when reported (quarterly, monthly or annually as appropriate). Advice from Reference Group partners will be sought as appropriate.
  • A recommendation will be made to the Project Board by the Delivery Group to change project elements based in this assessment.

Data underpinning evaluation

Stream Data subject Data Relevant targets Collection method Responsibility When reported
Capacity Opengov forum Registrations

Posts and replies

Increase forum registrations from 1000 to 5000 and aim for fivefold increase in each nation Website usage stats Each nation lead partner Quarterly
Capacity Opengov pioneers Wiki Visits

Active contributions


Tbc after setting baseline Website analytics

Google analytics

SCVO Monthly
Capacity Opengov collaboration Contributions to crowdsourcing platforms

New initiatives between citizens sparked as a result of project activities

Submissions from 20% of members during lifecycle of project Crowdsourcing platform analytics

Forum polling

Involve UK Quarterly
Engagement Opengov website Blog reads

Google ranking

tbc Website analytics

Google analytics

Involve UK Quarterly
Engagement Positioning of Open Government agenda in delivery of SDGs Stakeholder analysis Qualitative Influencer interviews / meetings Each nation lead partner Quarterly
Engagement Impact on SDG progress Policy documents (government) Qualitative & # of citations Rapid review and appraisal Consultant Annually
Learning Knowledge of what works in using Open Government to progress SDGs Blogs and articles from members Submissions from 20% of members during lifecycle of project Media analysis Each nation lead partner Annually
Learning Engagement between Pioneer civil society on what works Pioneer forum engagement

Posts and replies

Forum polls

Tbc after setting baseline Website usage stats SCVO & Involve UK Quarterly
Learning Engagement between UK nations on what works Stakeholder analysis Qualitative Influencer interviews / meetings NIEL Annually

Independent evaluator

We need to ensure that the project success is properly and independently assessed by an independent evaluator. This is for the following reasons:

  • The use of an independent evaluation consultant was agreed by project core partners and specified in the bid to the Big Lottery Fund UK. There will be an expectation of this by all partners who have reviewed the application and the plans which was published on this Wiki at that time
  • An independent evaluation will allow a more objective evaluation of the success of the project than project core partners interviewing or getting feedback themselves from project beneficiaries
  • A single independent evaluation rather than separate evaluations in each UK home nation will allow us to stay within budget and capture differences and common experiences across the nations.
  • We will use the process towards recruiting the independent evaluator to generate a conversation between existing and prospective delivery partners on our evaluation approach. In particular, we will seek advice on how to get a clearer line of sight between the project output delivery and progress towards outcomes

We will openly advertise and recruit an evaluation partner (consultant) to deliver the independent evaluation, and another evaluation partner to deliver the equalities evaluation. The project's Delivery Group's recommendation to the project board will be to use a single evaluator for both the main and equalities evaluation of the project. This is to recognise the importance of embedding equalities in the overall evaluation approach. It would also fit into the outcome Empowered engaged citizens, leveraging their knowledge of SDGs, emphasising the focus on engaging people whose voices are least heard.

In order to inform the process used to recruit the evaluation consultant, we will draw on the pilot approach we used to recruit the equalities trainer for the project team. This involved an open approach, where potential delivery partners self-identified their interest on this Wiki on the Partners page. They were subsequently added to the Opengovernment Pioneers Project Partners forum and were encourages to comment on the overall process and brief openly to other partners before making their pitch.

Access the evaluator tender brief here.

The evaluation will involve interviews with project partners, project participants and government, and will be supported by the data collected as part of the project's monitoring activities and a discussion with the project board and input from project's forums around evaluation priorities. The evaluator will be expected to make recommendations about how to continue and develop the engagement of citizens and civil society in using open government to secure progress towards SDGs.

UPDATE: Mutualgain has been appointed as the independent evaluator. See Partners page for more about them.

Evaluation Outputs

You can access all the outputs from the evaluation activities at this webpage - www.mutualgain.org/ogpeval

You can shortly access the full draft of Mutualgain's independent evaluation report (Aug 2018) here.


It is important that this project does not rely completely on the independent evaluation to understand the difference it is making.


  1. The UK Conference will include a workshop component to facilitate stakeholder analysis, where project participants collectively deliberate around what works in delivering open government approaches to SDGs.
  2. The Activity sprint on international learning in Summer 2018 will also provide international level learning about what works and external perspective on how the project is making a difference based on International webinars with Pioneer civil society cohort
  3. Crucially, the independent evaluation will be accompanied by six monthly self-evaluations by each core partner for each home nation which will be captured and reported through this Wiki.

Timescales for evaluation

Milestone Timescale Status
Evaluation plan on Wiki

Delivery Group Self-evaluation

May 17 Completed
Meeting with Project Board

Paper outlining equalities impact proofing project activities

Jun 17 Completed
Recruitment process agreed Aug 17 Completed
Recruitment of evaluators

Delivery Group Self-evaluation

Dec / Jan 18 Completed
Evaluator session with Project Board Jan 18 Completed
Evaluation delivery

Delivery Group Self-evaluation

May 18 Completed
Evaluation report and recommendations Jul 18
UK wide sprint to review project and legacy Sep 18

How will we ensure a strong equalities focus?

This Open Government Pioneers Project is primarily about raising awareness and supporting the implementation of the SDGs through Open Government principles and methods, with an emphasis on reaching groups who have difficulty in having their voices heard.

We will use the following approaches to ensure an equalities focus is embedded at all stage and all activities of the project:

  • Prioritising budget and engagement with partners and groups supporting those without a strong voice in opengovernment and SDG discussions
  • Securing strong buy-in to this project from a variety of equalities-focused civil society organisations
  • Ensuring all project activities seek wider engagement than the 'usual suspects' - e.g. using livestreaming, non-jargon language, accessibility checks for digital platforms.
  • Ensuring all project activities are as open and accessible as possible at the design stage to people who face additional barriers to engaging the decisions that affect them.
  • We will learn from the existing evidence base available to us, starting with the research and reports referenced at Analysis and theory of change#Who participates.3F

Key questions

Question Suggestion Comments Agreed
Do the proposed evaluation indicators link closely enough with the objectives?
Is the timescale proposed realistic?
Is the proposal to ensure a strong equalities focus adequate and realistic?

Project Impact

Updated Jan 2018

Overall impact assessment

  • The project has facilitated a significant renewal of interest in the Sustainable Development Goals which had been flagging since the launch of the SDGs in late 2015.
  • The project has also increased interest and visibility in the Open Government Partnership and action plans amongst the policy communities in Scotland and Wales.
  • The project has secured a greater appreciation by government and civil society participants across the UK and has engaged a broader constituency of interests in the open government partnership of the link between OGP and SDGs in Northern Ireland and England.
  • The project is beginning to broaden awareness and interest in OGP and SDGs in the broader public and media. There has been a steady increase in engagement with the structures and planned engagements that are now in place to progress this over the previous six months of the project.
  • The project has for the first time brought engagement around open government and SDGs to the attention of young people, and people engaged with minority and disability groups.

Impact against outcomes

NB. Text in italics is due for an update.

Outcomes Beneficiary Impact assessment Areas for improvement
Political representatives have greater awareness of SDGs and types of actions required. Influencers - politicians, government officials, institutional partners UK level:
  • UKSSD launched a report on progress around UK SDGs and have engaged directly with the opengovpioneers project at the highest level, including a lead role for our core partner Involve in the chapter on SDG 16.


  • Strong political visibility for SDGs facilitated by scotgov aligning it with a revised national outcome framework. Considerable role for the SDG Scotland network in this process.
  • Key Scotland political leaders from Scotgov, local councils and Scottish Parliament have responded to our letter on how they will implement the SDGs.
  • A reshuffle has now prioritised Open Government at Cabinet (Mike Russell MSP) rather than junior minister level.

Northern Ireland:

  • Difficult situation with Assembly suspension. Talks process ongoing and hoping for decision on future governing arrangements. The NI Open Government Network has contributed to efforts to pilot a citizens Assembly in NI. A pilot should be run in 2018 and the topic received widespread mainstream and political attention in recent weeks.


  • In Wales the focus of the project is on the Well-being Goals. There is a particular focus on the engagement & involvement elements of the Well-being of Future Generations Act (the 5 ways of working) and a number of network meetings between civil society & Government officials have now taken place ensuring better involvement in the most integrated way, and learning is shared.
  • England: Civil society has been scoping city-level political representatives with a view to informing them of the need to implement SDGs.
Wales: engagement with local government will be important as they will be delivering well-being plans from this year, reporting against progress on the well-being goals.

NI: political literacy around the SDGs is still low. Continue to raise understanding through the Pioneer conference.

Government officials have a better plan for involving citizens. Participants - civil society activists, engaged citizens UK Opengov networks:
  • Government has been responsive and engaged with our forums in Scotland and Wales. UK Gov has had limited engagement and interest at a political level, but officials have maintained links in England and Northern Ireland.
  • UK and SG Government are planning to collaborate around bringing OGP approach to UK cities. Potential now for an application by a UK city to the next cohort of subnational pioneers. Initial conversations taking place in Glasgow.


  • The project has been working closely with Scotgov on consultation activities to develop the next Open Government Action Plan for Scotland. However, engagement remains limited despite advertising widely.
  • The first meeting of our newly elected Open Government Multi-stakeholder forum (with elections facilitated by this project) were held in June. The formal structure in Scotland for overseeing action plans is now complete.

Northern Ireland:

  • Close working with NI Government, but difficult to progress without Ministerial direction.
  • Engagement with the UK OGP action plan will be key influence. Continued engagement with relevant government officials and inclusion of an SDGs commitment within the NI OG Commitment asks.


  • Following a consultation with civil society we have met with the Welsh Government for a two way discussion on what civil society would like from the next NAP and their early plans for the 4th NAP. Early signs are that the next NAP will heavily reflect the asks civil society have made and will prioritise engagement and participation.


  • Government officials have provided informal feedback on whether new metro-mayors could be invited to submit application as subnational OGP pioneer.
In Scotland, we need to explore how to improve enthusiasm in engaging government in partnership on opening up government.

NI: Encourage the Open Government Implementation Group to incorporate an SDGs commitment in the new OG Action Plan. This will be difficult.

Wales: It will be important to engage civil society from the outset of developing themes and commitments rather than just consulting them. There is a risk of this at the moment, and our project will be key to making sure this happens.

Empowered engaged citizens, leveraging their knowledge of SDGs. General Public Scotland:
  • Almost 400 people have joined the Meetup groups set up for people and communities to engage with OGP and SDGs in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Cardiff. But despite this interest there has been limited interaction through this channel.
  • Our efforts to work with equalities organisations in Scotland to build on the meetup model has not worked, so we are going to try different approaches now.
  • We continue to build on the substantial interest shown by young people in this project. A cohort of young people will be organising our September SDG Network meeting.

Northern Ireland:

  • Our publicity SDGs is surfacing people/orgs who are not the usual suspects.
  • Youth engagement programme has resulted in considerable awareness raising and capacity building around the SDGs and OG amongst youth groups and special needs youth groups in NI. The Democracy Games methodology is a colourful and entertaining way of engaging youth groups and inspiring children around the topic of open gov and sustainable development. Six events engaged approx. 250 young people and 20 teachers/coordinators.
  • Belfast Food Network undertaking food poverty workshops with deprived households to explore how food poverty affects them to identify ways of tackling this issue in the home as well as identifying long term policy solutions.


  • Through the 3 equalities projects that received funding from the Wales Open Government Network engagement is now being undertaken in earnest with grassroots groups & individuals with protected characteristics. This will link to the Well-Being Goals and SDGs. A project bid is being developed currently to develop the Wales GlobalGoals website.
  • One of the central asks of the Open Government Wales' civil society manifesto was for better engagement from the office of the Future Generations Commissioner with the public. We are waiting to see whether this is part of a commitment in the next NAP.


  • We have been identifying key local groups to engage in open government to bring in the SDG aspect to the action plan process
Scotland: We will need a better plan in place to support people who are interested in hosting meetups, as simply providing more staff time will exhaust team's resources.

NI: Encouraging teachers to adopt our framework/methodology to run their own democracy games sessions in schools, so the approach can be sustained after the lifetime of the project. Adjust the methodology for 16-24 year olds.

Open government seen as instrumental towards progressing SDGs. Media, academia, funding bodies, policy professionals, charities, private sector, international networks UK wide
  • GDPR has had a major negative impact on the project. In a transition to our new forum, we have lost many members who have not opted in to move to the new forum.
  • The UKSSD led report has substantially referenced the Open Government approach to securing SDGs in the UK, largely due to this project's input.


  • Following the adoption of the revised National Outcomes Framework by Scotgov, the SDGs have now been given due prominence in Government planning, and therefore recognition by Scottish Parliament and third sector. Media interest remains low however.
  • The globalgoals.scot site continues to see a wide range of blogs from civil society, and there are now more the tools and resources referenced through the site for people who want to progress SDGs.

Northern Ireland:

  • As part of the NIOGN commitments for the UK NAP we included commitments on government SDGs mapping and visualisation. Still awaiting response from NICS Board.
  • Undertaking deliberative citizen engagement training for local council staff, assembly clerks and the OG Implementation Group allowing staff to better utilise open government methods and techniques in their engagement and consultation processes.
  • UK Environment Link Orgs have better understanding of the current state of play regarding the SDGs.


  • WCVA are linking with the Office for the Future Generations Commissioner, who oversee the well-being plans of local authorities, as part of the Well-Being of Future Generations Act. There is now a clear links between open government approach and the approach being taken by the Well-being Act. There is an opportunity therefore to really embed open government in the delivery of the Act.
  • Engagement with open government project is primarily through workshops and events, although interest and use of the digital tools and the forum is increasing.


  • Initiation of 4th National OGP UK action plan, is using SDG themes for the first time to frame workshops.

While the project has had success in building more interest in open government approaches to SDGs, it is clear that breaking into the mainstream media remains a challenge.

Engagement statistics

Stats are cumulative totals, unless otherwise specified

Indicator Commentary (updated Jan 2018) Nov 2016 Mar




Dec 2017 July 2018
Pioneers project partners (organisations registered on forum as Pioneers Project partners) Most organisations have one individual registered. Delivery partner organisations have 2-3 people registered. See https://forum.opengovernment.org.uk/groups/opengovpioneers 0 55 57 87 103
Open Government Forum registrations We have seen a doubling in forum memberships for Scotland and Wales, and a notable increase for both UK and NI forums. All: 1149

Scot: 121

Wales: 29

NI: 299

All: 1310

UK: 402

Scot: 160

Wales: 34

NI: 326

Wales: 36

All: 1595

UK: 428

Scot: 260

Wales: 63

NI: 378


All: 1749

UK: 453

Scot: 316

Wales: 67

NI: 396

NEW FORUM: All: 191

UK: 63

Scot: 45

Wales: 20

NI: 17

Open Government Forum conversations Activity around posting and replies are in line with numbers of registrations. Wales: 12 UK: 411

Scot: 164

Wales: 28

NI: 185


UK: 455

Scot: 229

Wales: 44

NI: 193


UK: 33

Scot: 15

Wales: 4

NI: 3

Wiki visits Unable to track visits due to Miraheze platform restrictions - unlikely this will change soon.
Wiki contributions Registration not required to contribute anonymously. Therefore we anticipate those that choose to register plan to contribute regularly or on multiple occasions. Wales: 1 32 contributors signed up

888 page edits

50 contributors signed up

1372 page edits

75 contributors signed up

1,849 page edits

Wiki citations (currently active) Difficult to track this properly due to limitations of platform. May need to review this indicator. Currently using Google links 150 247 230
Digital platform unique users (globalgoals.scot) N/A N/A 167 1296
Digital platform page views (globalgoals.scot) Platform has been soft launched and made available to those taking an interest in SDGs. Platform has not been launched yet formally through mainstream media. N/A 147 from new users, 741 including returning 761 from new users, 1663 including returning 4766 from new users, 12,618 including returning
Digital platform contributions *Contributions largely posted by SCVO for now 120*
Digital platform citations Platform not formally launched yet
Open Government Network blog reads analytics> behaviour>content drilldown> /2016/12/ + /2017/ + /2018/ (unique page views) stats are cumulative from end Nov 16 648 1002 2775 5854
Open Government Network blog/article contributions statistics are cumulative starting end of Nov 16 (latest stats are until 03/08/2018) Wales: 1


Scot: 2

UK: 5

Mixed: 4

Wales: 1

NI: 4

Scot: 3

UK: 9

Mixed: 4

Wales: 1

NI: 12


UK: 14

Mixed: 6

Wales: 5

NI: 24

Scot: 48

UK: 32

Mixed: 10

Meetup.com registrations Trebling of meetup.com registrations which comprises mainly people not already members of the opengov forums. i.e. engaged citizens. UK (Scot and Wales): 163 UK (Scot and Wales): 200 UK (Scot and Wales): 331 UK (Scot and Wales): 397
Twitter followers Substantial increases for Wales and Scotland as these are the new networks. Scot: 175



Wales: 143

Scot: 231

UK: 1997

Wales: 346

Scot: 538

NI: 1320

UK: 2246

Wales: 469

Scot: 816

NI: 1470

Project Legacy

This section summarises and assess legacy options to build on the project outputs.

Legacy planning suggestions

Legacy planning suggestions
Proposals What? Why? How? When?
Equalities co-production initiative Supporting a partnership of Equalities organisations across the UK to host an open conversation around engaging people furthest from decision making into plans around SDGs and Open Government. The Opengovpioneers project opened up engagement with equalities groups, but found a much more intensive capacity building exercise is needed to engage those furthest from the decisions that effect them in using opengov as a way to progress SDGs that affect them. A consortium of equalities orgs led by a key equality network in each UK home nation, back by an online wiki to document and plan progress.

There is an opportunity for the opengovpioneers project to host an initial engagement event, that can be used to develop a proposal to BIG UK.

Early 2019
Focus on Equalities - Food Poverty Food poverty is a growing issue leading to (and resulting from) a range of inequalities. Aim is to support partnership of groups which will progress activity around this and related SDGs (particularly 1,2,3). Develop partnership approach with other cities to progress. Pioneer project has been good at reaching equalities groups, but there is an argument for taking a more focused approach, and targeting specific issues or SDGs where we feel we can have impact. One such area is food poverty. Linked to proposal around equalities co-production (above). There is a local food poverty equalities event planned for Autumn, which would bring a range of groups together. Belfast Food Network is the key co-ordinating body - opportunity to link with Nourish Scotland. Early 2019
Open Glasgow initiative Supporting Glasgow City Council and Glasgow civil society to consider whether to apply for the OGP local programme next year. Glasgow is in a good place politically, technologically and socially to consider an Open Government Glasgow action plan. Initial conversations led by GCC and GCVS with SCVO support, documented openly at this wiki. Late 2019
Open Belfast Pioneer City Belfast to be a Pioneer City championing open government at local level in NI Belfast has been transformed over the past 2 decades, and the City Council has just developed a new Community Plan - the Belfast Agenda. Potential for civil society to support BCC in development of OGP Action Plan; progress range of civic engagement methods to strengthen new plan; opportunities in connecting cities such as Glasgow/Belfast. 2019
Open Government civil society network Scotland An independent civil society-led network in Scotland, building on the infrastructure set up by the opengovpioneers project, to maintain the network, forums and engagement with Scotgov Multi-stakeholder opengov forum. The BIG lottery funded Opengovpioneers project was designed to build the infrastructure, visibility and engagement with Open Government and using this to advance the SDGs. However, the BIG lottery was an accelerator project, and not designed for maintenance of the network. Funding ends 2018, therefore a new plan and delivery model and funding partner(s) is required to secure a sustainable network. As part of the legacy work, the Opengovpioneers project team will host discussions with project partners on opportunities and interest in leading the next phase of the opengov movement. Late 2018
Gendered approach to securing the SDGs across the UK Partnership of Open Government pioneer civil society organisations across the UK Home nations using a gendered approach to open government as a means to securing SDGs We suspect that Gender equality has become one of the single most important factors holding back progress on the SDGs, but Opengovpioneers ddn't take a gendered lens to engagement in the project. Addressing this should help speed progress to achieving the SDGs. A project led by existing core partners of the opengovpioneers project to advance a gender equalities based approach to the SDGs using open government approaches. Linking into existing civil society networks and groups that focus on gender. Late 2019
Open Government 'beyond the usual suspects' Partnership of Open Government civil society organisations across the UK using new methods to engage a wider group of people on Open Government and the next Open Government Action Plans for each of the nations. The key principles of Open Government of transparency, accountability and participation could be game changing for a much wider representation of the public, and yet to date we have had limited engagement with 'harder to reach' groups. This project would have a particular emphasis on engaging more diverse groups of people in the project and development of the next plans, and would follow on from the issues identified in the Welsh network's equality projects. A project led by existing partners, but working directly with groups that specifically represent groups of people that haven't been engaged to date. 2019
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