The Herts Sports Partnership, in collaboration with HSP Associate Amelia Hall, have undergone a process of developing an organisational ‘Theory of Change’ model to be implemented within across all elements of our operation.

What is a Theory of Change?

Theory of Change is a description, with an illustrated ‘Outcome Pathway’, explaining how a desired change can be expected to happen within a particular context. It focuses on mapping out available provision, the links between them, and how they ultimately lead to the desired change.

The first stage is to identify the desired long-term goals and working back from these to identify the pathway an individual, or community, can follow to reach them. Then, working backwards, all the related engagement opportunities can be mapped (in this case programmes, interventions and change initiatives) as well as the desired outcomes to create the pathway.

This can then provide a visual model to identify which types of initiatives will lead to the intended changes, and where there are gaps in available provision that need addressing. Through this method the links between specific activity and their role contributing towards intended organisational outcomes can be much better understood allowing for better planning, evaluation and recognition of a project’s success.

HSP Theory of Change

The outcomes pathway for HSP’s theory of change is the pictorial representation of the underpinning theory for HSP’s work and should be viewed from left to right. The intended long-term goal (far right) is the partnership’s mission: More People, More Active, More Often and far left is where the organisation was at the start of the strategy cycle 2017 – 2021. Each of the boxes demonstrates the outcomes that need to be achieved to get closer to achieving the partnerships mission.

Each of HSP’s activities have then been categorised to demonstrate which key area or HSPs operation they are targeting. Activities are grouped by theme, expressed through numbers, and displayed underneath the model. They are also colour coded into three categories to demonstrate their stage of development:

Red
Activities in red indicate they have been completed and their operation has now been passed to partner organisations for sustained delivery.  Red activities are included in the model as they fall within the 2017 – 2021 strategy and therefore contribute to HSP’s organisational goals. This also includes those awaiting funding decisions.

Amber
Activities in amber are those in the planning stage and in the pipeline for delivery in the short-term future.

Green
Green indicates activities that are currently being delivered.

Each outcome on the pathway is preceded by the numbers relating to the activities that contribute to that outcome (also detailed below) providing a clear reference of activity to organisational outcome.

1. Physical Activity for Wellbeing

Active Herts
Active Students
Active Together
Herts Disability Sports Foundation (HDSF)
parkrun
Mind Hub
Reminiscence
‘It’s Never Too Late’ campaign
Carers
Cancer Project
JOCA
Workplace health

2. Sport for Social Change

Fit, Fed & Read
Sporting Chance
Herts Big Hit
Women’s Refuge
Transition Camps
Career Mode
Active Local
Veterens Project

3.Schools

The Daily Mile
School Games
Primary School Sport Premium
CPD programme
DfE Volunteering
Access to school facilities

4. Infrastructure

Club development
Coach education
NGB support
Safeguarding
Volunteering

5. Influencing

Marketing
Advocacy
Conferences
Strategic groups
Showcasing and sharing
Partner forum
Network meetings
Campaigns

6. Impact

Sports Awards
Funding4Sport
Evaluation support
Insight development and translation
Project evaluations
Active Lives

Evaluation

The theory of change is also a useful tool in developing an organisational Evaluation Framework. This enables HSP to collect consistent data in order to present a more holistic picture of our reach and impact across the organisation. Embedding consistent measurement tools across the organisation allows us to view our impact as a whole rather than the current format on a project by project basis. The ToC has allowed the development of a small number of core measures to be embedded across the organisation that will be reported to the partnership’s board for discussion. These core measures will have organisational Key Performance Indicators and will feature alongside organisational metrics.

If you have any further questions about the HSP Organisational Theory of Change model you can contact Will Slemmings, Senior Project Officer using the details below:

Will Slemmings
E: w.slemmings@herts.ac.uk
T: 01707 283249