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:

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.

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

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.

Physical Activity for WellbeingSport for Social ChangeSchoolsInfrastructureInfluencingImpact
Active HertsFit, Fed & ReadThe Daily MileClub developmentMarketingSports Awards
Active StudentsSporting ChancePrimary School Coach educationAdvocacyFunding4Sport
Active TogetherHerts Big Hit
Sport PremiumNGB supportConferencesEvaluation support
Herts Disability Sports Foundation (HDSF)
Women’s RefugeCPD programmeSafeguardingStrategic groupsInsight development and translation
parkrunTransition CampsDfE VolunteeringVolunteeringShowcasing and sharing
Project evaluations
Mind HubCareer ModeAccess to school facilitiesPartner forumActive Lives
ReminiscenceActive LocalSchool GamesNetwork meetings
‘It’s Never Too Late’ campaign
Veterens ProjectCampaigns
Cancer Project
Workplace health

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
T: 01707 283249