Spirit of 2012 Evaluation Summit

In October, inFocus concluded its’ three year evaluation of Spirit of 2012. The evaluation engaged with 28 of the projects supported by Spirit since 2013/14, exploring areas such as the wellbeing of individuals, communities and society as a whole, perceptions and attitudes towards disability and impairment, and greater social cohesion and understanding.

The report was the subject of a special Summit held in central London on the 25th October.   An invited panel including Baroness Sue Campbell, CBE, Head of Women’s Football at the FA, Martin Green, Director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Ted Cantle, a leading authority on inter-cultural relations, Nancy Hey, Director of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing and Jude Kelly, CBE, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre discussed its findings.   The event opened with a keynote speech from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, a founding trustee of Spirit of 2012.

You can find out more about the Summit here.

The Evaluation Challenge

Spirit of 2012 was established by the Big Lottery Fund to leave a lasting legacy for communities across the UK from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These broad objectives made it really important for Spirit of 2012 to get an early understanding of the impact their funding could make, to map out the changes they wanted to see in communities around the UK, and to establish what type of funder they should be as early as possible.

Spirit of 2012’s business plan set an ambition to be a ‘centre of excellence’, to have learning at their core, and to be able to clearly tell the story of the investment. Central to this was having a Theory of Change to inform the programme strategy and a consistent monitoring & evaluation framework to drive the internal monitoring of quantitative and qualitative data.

Not over-burdening grantees, capturing the ‘human interest’ stories of change, and doing this in a way that involved stakeholders was a priority for the organisation.

The Solution

Over the three years since Spirit’s inception, inFocus has supported the organization across its’ various stages of development.

In year 1, inFocus worked with Spirit to develop a theory of change, involving a broad range of stakeholders, both potential grantees and sector experts, mapping out how an inspirational event, like the London 2012 Games, could continue to: inspire people, to challenge their thinking around disability and civil and national pride, to increase in participation in sport, the arts and culture and volunteer and how this could translate into to long-term changes in communities. During the process, we helped Spirit of 2012 to tease out these issues and attitudes from stakeholders and explore the underlying beliefs and assumptions behind the programme. 

Once the Theory of Change was agreed and outcomes prioritized, the next step was to develop and agree a set of indicators and tools that could be used by grantees to help to identify to what extent the changes took place. We developed a range of data collection and reporting tools for Spirit of 2012 grantees to submit data against the indicators enabling Spirit of 2012 to consolidate and view reports across all programmes and grantees.

Following this initial inception phase of the charity, inFocus turned its’ role towards that of External Evaluator. By working with our team of Associates across the UK we carried out a combined three year process, formative and summative evaluation to help Spirit to use data for both its’ own learning and external accountability. The evaluation continued to use the theory of change as a guiding framework, which was revised and updated annually. 

“Spirit is not interested in evaluation for its own sake; we will take the learning from projects to improve our funding strategy and grant-making. Working with inFocus as long-term and independent partners means that we can really start to tell the story of Spirit’s investment, the early impact it is having on improving wellbeing and provide grantees with an opportunity to provide honest and open feedback on how we are doing a Funder. We will work together with projects to create clear, robust frameworks that create meaningful results that we can learn from. inFocus is a highly credible partner and the consortium brings considerable expertise. They share our commitment to formative and genuinely explorative learning. We are excited to be working with them.”

Ruth Hollis, Director of Policy and Research, Spirit of 2012