Theory of Change

Greater London Authority

The Client

The Greater London Authority is the regional governance body for London and is responsible for delivering a range of services across the city. It is led by the Mayor of London.


The Challenge

To develop a guiding Theory of Change for Phase 1 of the ‘Sport Unites’ Community Sport Investment Programme and the ‘Major Events Engagement Fund’ (MEEF). Sport Unites is the Mayor of London’s flagship community sports programme designed to support the long-term vision to make London the most active and socially integrated city in the world. MEEF is designed to ensure the legacy of major events benefits communities and grassroots sport.

Photo credit: Greater London Authority

The Project

To work with key stakeholders to co-create an over-arching theory of change for the Mayor of London’s Sport Unites and MEEF investment programmes.

Working with identified stakeholders, existing grantees, and the Mayor of London’s Community Sport team, inFocus designed a Theory of Change for Sport Unites that encompassed all its various funds and themes. Six outcome pathways were designed: tackling inactivity; supporting mental health and wellbeing; encouraging social mixing and decreasing social isolation; addressing serious youth violence; building the capacity of the workforce; and strengthen the community sport sector’s systems and infrastructure. Each pathway had a series of outcomes with associated indicators and suggested questions. The outcomes pathways served as a basket or menu with the ToC Workbook and indicator toolkits developed by inFocus allowing grantees to create their own miniature theory of change for their funded work and to help guide them in the design of their monitoring and data collection.

What we discovered

Developing an overarching theory of change with outcome pathways serving as ‘menus’ that could be used by multiple organisations proved successful. The outcomes pathways allowed grantees to mix and match outcomes to create a true representation of the intention of the work they were doing and incorporate their own where necessary. Grantees with limited knowledge and experience of impact measurement or with limited resources could use the ToC as a guide to design their data collection, allowing them to contribute meaningful data to the wider evaluation.

Organisations with their own theory of change in place were able to align the outcomes with their own and utilise their existing data collection methods to limit any additional burden. The result was most grantees were able to report using compatible or identical metrics that informed the wider evaluation of the impact of the two investment programmes. A thematic case study was developed for each of the outcome pathways. It also prompted plans for the MEEF programme to be subsumed within Sport Unites in the future as the two overarching ToC’s were closely aligned.

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