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We are seeking a consultant to complete the evaluation brief detailed below by the 4th December 2015.

1.0 Introduction

This brief relates to the evaluation of Barking and Dagenham Advice Plus project, funded by BIG Lottery serving residents in the locality of Barking and Dagenham.

2.0 Purpose

The commissioning organisation Barking and Dagenham Citizens Advice Bureau (BDCAB), which is the lead accountable body for the Advice Plus partnership is seeking an organisation or independent consultant to complete an evaluation of the project.

The requirement is for the report to focus on the partnership’s achievements and learning’s over the two years of the project.

You will interview named staff and volunteers across the Advice Plus partnership, as well as other key stakeholders which may include partners’ trustees, and network representatives. We expect that you will conduct the evaluation through a combination of face to face and telephone interviews. You may also need to conduct focus group work with some clients to inform the report.

3.0 Context

The Advice Plus project is an ambitious 2 year project that has four aims;
• To increase access to quality assured advice for local residents.
• To provide a more joined up approach to advice delivery through the introduction of a common case management system across the partnership.
• To support partners to deliver training to frontline staff and volunteers in common areas of social welfare law and to developing payer training.
• To offer NVQ (QCF) qualifications to staff and volunteers across the partnership.

Barking and Dagenham Citizens Advice (BDCAB) in partnership with Barking and Dagenham Council for Voluntary Service (BDCVS) and 11 other local voluntary sector advice and advocacy agencies has been awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Advice Services Transition Fund (ASTF) starting from October 2013 and to be completed by September 2015.

There are four outcomes of this project that are:

Outcome 1: Vulnerable people’s outcomes are improved through collaborative quality assured unified service delivery which can be accessed in one place

Indicators:
– Agencies deliver services through unified delivery
– Clients access advice services all in one place
– Clients outcomes are improved through unified service delivery

Outcome 2: Vulnerable people will have increased and improved access to Advice Quality Service (AQS) advice about their rights and entitlements

Indicators:
– Better able to access AQS advice about their rights and entitlements directly from advice agencies
– Better able to access AQS advice about their rights and entitlements directly from front line (non advice agency) workers
– Better able to access AQS advice about their rights and entitlements directly from advice agencies and front line (non advice agency) workers working collaboratively

Outcome 3: Vulnerable people will have increased awareness of rights and increased confidence to resolve their social welfare law (employment, welfare rights, housing, debt & level 1 immigration) problems more effectively

Indicators:
– Increased awareness within the community of social welfare law rights and entitlements
– Increased confidence to take action on their own behalf to resolve social welfare law

Outcome 4: Advice agencies will be more resilient through delivering collaborative Advice Academy training services which will sustain their core service infrastructure

Indicators:
– Advice agencies are enabled to provide collaborative advice training services
– Collaborative advice training services will sustain core infrastructure through the supply of trained volunteers and apprentices
– Collaborative advice training services will sustain core infrastructure through income generation
Partners involved:

Agency Name Services provided

Advice Learning Bureau (ALB) Advice on immigration, employment, housing and debt management.
Age UK Redbridge Advice and information about welfare benefits, care and health.

Barking and Dagenham Citizens Advice Bureau Independent information and advice on debt and money, welfare rights and benefits, housing and homelessness, employment, discrimination, family, legal and many other areas of advice.
Barking and Dagenham CVS (BDCVS) The umbrella organisation for local voluntary and community organisations, social enterprises and individuals who wish to engage in community activity. They provide training and one to one development support to help groups fundraise and manage their organisations effectively.
Barking and Dagenham Racial Equality Council (BDREC) Welfare benefits advice and Advocacy, housing, educations, specialist advice in Debt Counselling, Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse, Hate Crime, Discrimination, and employment.
Barking and Dagenham Turkish Women’s Association (TWA) Welfare benefits advice and advocacy

DABD UK Welfare benefits advice and advocacy

Disablement, Information and Advice Line (DIAL) Welfare benefits advice and advocacy

Independent Living Agency (ILA) Advice and advocacy services in terms of welfare rights and benefits, mental health, housing and other issues.
Life after Debt (LAD), formally Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Advice welfare rights, benefits and debt. They also work with clients on debt management with money courses and support clients with advocacy around repossessions and insolvency and bankruptcy orders.
Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London and Essex (RAMFEL) Advice and advocacy services to Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee individuals on asylum & immigration, welfare benefits, housing & homelessness, health & community care, employment & discrimination and Violence Against Women & Girls.
Rwandese Abagimigambi (RWAAB) Advice services on the following in Rwandan/ English: employment, welfare benefits, and housing.

4.0 Background

The partnership is an extension of a previously BIG Lottery funded Advice Plus project that then consisted of 5 agencies. With the current funding the partnership grew to a total of 12 agencies some of who have been funded to deliver advice work, and others who have been tasked to conduct peer file reviews on agency casework. Two agencies DABD and BDCVS were tasked with consultancy roles, DABD to supporting the partnerships aim to develop and set up an income generating Advice Academy assessment centre, and BDCVS to support the AQS development of advice delivery agencies’.

The project team initiated the project mandate by reviewing agencies baseline questionnaires, meeting with all agencies and commencing discussions with various agencies to roll out day training across the borough based on the needs outlined in the original bid. The aim of the training was to improve the understanding of local social welfare issues and to increase the knowledge of frontline non advice staff and volunteers to enable them to support their clients who are facing these issues more effectively.

The project team updated the Advice Plus website to enable residents to access information on social welfare law issues and to enable people to book places on Advice Plus training. The project team also introduced a central, cross partnership case management system called Advice Pro, which is a cloud based system. The partners were trained in the use of Advice Pro and the project team provided support with trouble shooting any problems going forward. This has worked extremely well and has led to improved case recording and has enabled cross partner agency file reviews to take place.

3.0 Target audience

The evaluation will be made available and presented to the funder and the Advice Plus partnership to help inform future strategy, funding applications and the next phase for the partnership.

5.0 Data collection

The electronic case management system has been a key resource to draw out shared outcomes, social policy and cross borough trends.

Every client seen under the advice delivery had their casework uploaded onto Advice Pro, gave consent to sharing their casework information and in some cases gave their consent to follow up for research purposes.

The Consultant will be having access to Advice Pro and training evaluation forms, to review the benefits of the case management system and of the partnership training.

It is in the best interests of the Advice Plus partnership for the consultant to ascertain how significant continuing to fundraise to sustain Advice Pro as a shared case management system is for all agencies going forward and what the buy in is from them in having to pay a fee to keep this system in place.

6.0 Reporting

The consultant will produce a full report detailing the progress made by the project along with any learning points and recommendations on how the partnership should proceed going forward.

7.0 Budget

The total, maximum budget for this project is £5,000 however this is provided as a guide and is not the sole determining factor in the award of the contract. Preference will be given to the organisation or consultant that can demonstrate the best achievement of outcomes against deliverables.

The consultant will also be required to meet with the project team to provide regular updates on progress made.

7.0 Timing of the work

Deadline Work
4 December 2015 noon Submission for proposal
7 December 2015 Short listing
14 December 2015 Interview/ Presentations
15 December 2015 Award of contract notification
15 January 2016 Final full report due

8.0 Application

The Organisational/individual’s requirements:

• Evidenced, relevant research or consultancy qualifications and/or experience.
• Good working knowledge of the Voluntary sector and specifically the Advice sector
• Good working knowledge of the local authority.
• Experience of working with service users from a range of backgrounds and with a variety of specific personal needs.
• A named reference of a client from the past 12 months.
• Professional indemnity insurance.
• Health and safety policy in place
• Equal Opportunity policy in place.

The successful organisation will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement upon commencement of the work.

Please submit your proposal to Skye Sandhu-Nelson detailing your experience and how you will complete the work in no more than four (4) pages at skye.sandhunelson@bdcab.org.uk.

If you would like to call the project team for an informal discussion, you may call Jan Davis (Quality and Training Lead) or Skye Sandhu-Nelson (Partnership Coordinator) on 020 8507 5983.