Program Planning and Evaluation in the Human Services The terms ‘Planning’ and ‘Evaluation’ are terms used and frequently heard In Human Service organizations. Whilst the importance of planning and evaluation Is understood by employees with program management responsibility (most often as a result of the rolled parameters described In funding and service agreements), the concepts that underpin planning and evaluation are often poorly understood by program staff and managers alike.
Planning is focused on the future and is as Mayer (1985:28) describes a “goal directed activity in which rationality in the means-ends legislation of a collective action is sought”. This paper will discuss program planning and evaluation, describe three distinct models of program planning and evaluation and discuss the rationale underpinning each one. It will also explore one of the models in more detail, highlighting the appropriateness of its application in planning at my workplace.
Program planning has been variously described by academics. Sufferable (1994) states that “Program planning models consist of Ideas about how programs should be put together and what Ingredients are necessary to ensure successful outcomes. ” Criminal, K (2010) describes program planning as “A collection of ideas about how programs should be designed, developed and organized in order to ensure particular outcomes are achieved. The importance of planning is perhaps most succinctly put by Weinberg (2003:73) “Planning is nothing more than taking action to influence future events. ” “.. (let) requires both an understanding of past events and the capacity to envision the future. ” Essentially, planning and evaluation assists organizations to: and define direction Allocate resources Determine roles and responsibilities and accountableness ramset’s Monitor, review and improve service delivery. Set the agenda Define Lewis et. Al. 2007:41) describe several types of planning that human service organizations may undertake to provide structure and direction for the organizations management and staff which include: Strategic Planning:- Overall mission and strategies for fulfilling the Mission Long Range Planning:- Assumes that conditions will remain stable with minor adjustments to goals and objectives over time. Operational Planning:- Specific planning relating to specific activities necessary to achieve the overall strategic plan. Program Planning:- Details service allover me required to deliver services to clients and tunas Ana sat Eng communities.
Project Planning:- Used to introduce or adjust operations such as administrative processes. Business Planning:- Details the expected income and expenditure required to deliver the project or program. When faced with the prospect of strategic or operational planning managers and staff can at times hold cynical views on the value of the planning pursuit. This cynicism may have come about as a result of the individuals’ experience of ineffective planning, or planning that is then not implemented, or worse, planning that is implemented and not properly monitored and evaluated.
Weinberg (2003:74) asserts that good planning should generate a surplus – I. E. It should contribute more than it takes away. As Weinberg notes Starling (1993:210-211) states that over-planning or planning that focuses too much on trivia can negatively affect teamwork, staff confidence and trust and lower morale. Low staff morale should be considered a serious concern for managers as it frequently manifests in lost productivity and underperformed, higher rates of sick leave and staff turnover resulting in increased costs to the organization relating to recruitment and training.
Planning models are many and varied and range from uncomplicated linear models with steps 1 – 5 for example, to the more (or very) complex that use sophisticated flow charts and in-depth and detailed descriptions. The linear model is sequential and logical. The planner begins at step one and continues along each step until the process is completed. This model is frequently used in planning in the Department of Health. A regional response to complex community health and welfare needs may be simply described in a linear plan under headings such as: What are we going to do? How will we do it? Who is responsible? How will we measure it? This approach is congruent with what Donovan & Jackson (1991 :1 53) describe as the essential components of any planning model “analysis, implementation and measurement”, which are then broken down into steps followed throughout the planning and evaluation processes. Donovan and Jackson (1991 53) also describe planning as a “fundamental management process, along with organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. ” More complex non-sequential models accommodate the inclusion of multi layered, interacting and dynamic elements that allows the planner to simultaneously address number of issues or components.
The community health service where I work uses the Social Model of Health as an overarching framework for service planning and program selection and delivery. The Social model of health is underpinned by the Idea Tanat Dye taking Acton to erasers ten social Ana environmental I determinants AT health while also addressing biological and medical factors more effective improvements in individual and population health can be achieved. (Adapted from Koehler & Marshall (2002)). Any of the myriad planning models that can be applied each will have benefits and imitations depending on the issue the model is being applied to.
In many cases managers approach planning in an eclectic manner, borrowing elements from various models. Davidson & Griffin, (2003:212) state that whilst “all organizations engage in planning activities, no two organizations plan in exactly the same fashion”. Similarly, different managers will approach planning and evaluation diversely. As Lewis et. Al state “The effective decision maker generates as many alternatives as possible, considers the potential consequences of each, actively searches for all relevant data and exhibits openness to new information”. Lewis. Et. Al (2007:57).
Regardless of the planning model used, effective planning in human services organizations must align with the organizations mission, vision and values. In a climate where new funding for community health and social welfare programs is frequently announced it is tempting for organizations to be drawn into what I refer to as Compulsive Submission in order to establish or maintain a competitive edge or drive expansion of services. In my experience, a large organization delivering services across a number of local government areas is more likely to be successful in a competitive bid for new funding.
To use a phrase more commonly used in the physical sciences, mass attracts mass. Broody (1995:53) warns against “mission drift…. And losing the organizations core reason for existing for the sake of money. ” If planning aligns with the values and strategic direction of the organization, (which reflect the current, emerging and future needs of the community it serves) the organization will develop and deliver services that resonate with Community needs. Similarly, it is important that organizations apply an evaluation framework to services delivered to ensure that continuous quality improvement is integral to service lancing and delivery.
Evaluation as an element of planning and delivery is often overlooked in the human services sector. Historically, community health and social support services were block funded in a recurrent fashion. Generally speaking, programs were required to report on episodes of care, hours of contact or occasions of service with little regard for qualitative measures that illustrate the impact of the service provided on individual or population health and well-being.
In practice, time poor and resource pressured agencies may overlook evaluation or include the activity in a perfunctory manner to satisfy funding and service agreements rather than the application of a critical analysis of the processes used and the outcomes achieved. Lewis et. Al. (1991:54) urge planners to consider how the success of the service to be implemented should be measured, and what methods could be applied to facilitate the evaluation.
They reason that the objectives identified in the planning process in effect become evaluation criteria and advise planners to plan for relevant, regular Ana on-going data collection Trot tens poll t. Less et. Al. 5) note Tanat Littleton (1973:13) writes about the inclusion of evaluation in each phase of the lancing cycle. “If, from the outset, evaluation is considered concurrently with other planning steps, a rigor is introduced that will aid in testing the feasibility of each step in the planning process. Jackson and Donovan (1999:218) state that “Evaluation is a tool that organizations develop and use not only to demonstrate their effectiveness and efficiency but also to provide information about service user needs and quality of service critical to the organizations’ effective planning and program design. ” According to Headwords (1997:57) the use of every day tools used in the delivery of psycho-social services such as diaries, case notes, data, budgets and meeting minutes may assist organizations to build in evaluation as a naturalistic and in-built system of evaluation focused planning.
Jackson and Donovan (1999:218) support the application of natural systems in evaluation such as “…. Using the existing relationships between staff and consumers to provide a built-in and naturalistic system of evaluation-focused planning. ” Using this approach to evaluation may reduce resistance to evaluation among program staff as it uses activities that are integral to service delivery and does not to the administrative burden of program staff. In their work on evaluating women’s services Montague et. Al. (1994:181) describe five important reasons to evaluate new services. … Monitor service operations; for planning and review purposes; for accountability, reporting back and Justification purposes; and to learn and to teach others about the service model or models on which the service is founded. ” Montague et. Al. (1994:181) As mentioned, many models for program planning and evaluation have been described in texts since the sass’s. A wide variety of terms and definitions are used o describe the range of approaches that can be applied to both of these essential functions, and a range of models have been described.
The Developmental, Incremental, Economic, Ethical and Effectiveness models have been well described in the literature. Mayer (1985:29) describes the first four in his writing on the alternative models of the planning process. While application of the developmental planning model occurs rarely it is worth Meyers description of the model as “.. The grandparent of models, in which rationality is applied to the selection of the ends as well as of the means of collective action. Linkable in Mayer (1985:41) argues that developmental planning is impractical, expensive and often overwhelming in complexity.
According to Linkable developmental planning involves: Listing each of the ends the planner is aiming to achieve Listing each of the possible means to achieving those ends Comparison of alternative means to find the best solution The use of theory as the principal basis for evaluation of means Commencing each analysis anew, being unconstrained by prior decisions or commitments He argues that in attempting to anticipate, and plan to mitigate all the attention consequences of each means to an end can be immobility’s and result in over cautious or conservative decision making.
Effectiveness models have evolved Trot want Ketene et. Al. , AY 111) careless as a slapstick approach to program planning. “For the vast majority of social service programs, program design involved simply hiring caseworkers to provide casework. Although this approach is simple it fails to deal with the critical questions of relevance of services provided, accountability and measurement of effectiveness. ” While it is apparent that there is a angel of planning models used in the human services I have chosen three that I have experienced remembering that each of the models examined will have applicability depending on a range of factors.
Incremental Model Incremental, sometimes called adaptive planning is the planning model most commonly used in the American governmental decision making according to Mayer (1985:39). Unlike the developmental model, rationality is applied only to the selection of means (strategies applied to achieve the ends) and not the ends (aims of the program). This model of planning most closely aligns with the approach to planning employed in planning and delivery of a number of programs I have worked in across the non-government and government sectors. Mayer (1985:39) states, “In essence, incremental represents means-oriented planning”.
Mayer suggests that the definition can be elaborated through five characteristics: 1 . Separation of political and planning centers 2. Lack of value consensus 3. Absence of general ends 4. Specific ends are remedial, opportunistic or unclear 5. Functional rationality (Adapted from Mayer (1985:39) The separation of political and planning centers is a key feature of the incremental del. In human services the selection of goals is most often the role of the funded (generally government) the means employed to achieve those ends are considered and selected by the agency chosen to deliver the program.
This enables human service organizations to use population data, consultation with key stakeholders, along with knowledge and experience gained from delivery of similar services to similar communities to determine the means of delivery which in turn, influences the ends. An example of the application of the incremental planning model at my workplace is “Rubbing Shoulders”. In 2008 the then Department of Human Services provides a small allocation of funding to assist the organization to improve the uptake of service delivered to the Kookier community.
The ends applied by the Department were very broad – increase service delivery to Kookier people, with a particular emphasis on Kookier people eligible for services provided through the Home and Community Care program. The planners responsible used local population health data, organization and program specific performance data and most importantly took advice from Kookier elders and community representatives. The planners developed an Engaging Kookier People policy to guide the evolution of the plan.
While the ends articulated in ten policy are Dorsa (“10 ensure Tanat Is a culturally sensitive organization snail develop and implement a Kookier Community Engagement Plan to ensure that programs and activities are responsive, culturally appropriate and reflect Kookier community needs. “) the means described are more specific. “Dodo this we shall: Ask (we will meet with community elders and other community members to seek advice on community health matters). Listen (we will actively seek feedback on community health matters from a Kookier community perspective. Clarify (we will confirm our understanding of the issues discussed). Document (we will develop a plan that is a living document that will support on-going dialogue between the organization and the Kookier community and contribute to achieving the strategic direction of XX. XX Engaging Kookier People (2008). These four means are very specific yet give flexibility and scope to develop a range of strategies to achieve the overall aim. Or ends intended by the department. Essentially, the plan has evolved since 2008 in a manner that reflects adaptive planning as described by Mayer (1985:39). Ethical Model
The ethical model of planning refers to a process of making choices about the values to be realized through planned action, and the rationale that supports the decision making based on an explicit value system Mayer (1985:54). This planning model resonates with the values generally held across human service organizations as the approach upholds the principles of consultation, social inclusion, and self determination and guides the development and delivery of services that are intended to impact positively in the community in which they operate. The model emerged in the sass’s when philosophers and social scientist such as Richard
Titmouse, Martin Rein, John Rails and Duncan McCrae were influenced by the development of policy as a process of making ethical choices. Mayer (1985:54). Mayer (1985:57) states that all four share a common belief that “… Policy making in large part is a process of choosing among values based on general ethical theories rather than on the expressed self belief of the members of society’. Although McCrae, Rails, Rein and Titmouse shared this common belief they each held slightly different views on the particular values they believed should guide policy and planning.
Titmouse was an early pioneer of the ethical model and proposed that policy analysis was “the critique of the ends – that is, the discussion of what are the right things to want? ” Mayer (1985:54). He believed that distributive Justice should be emphasized and there should be “.. The distribution of material and social benefits based on people’s needs as well as their efforts. ” Titmouse in Mayer (1985:54). He argued that members of a society need to be able to engage in what he called the gift relationship, a term he used to describe altruism. “The gift relationship is one in which one gives something of value to a stranger… Hereby eliminating any possibility f reciprocity, which is the motivation for self-interested action. ” Titmouse in Mayer (1985:54) Rein argued Tanat egalitarianism (a Teller In unman equality Walt respect to social, political and economic rights and privileges) should guide planning. Rails believed that fairness should be the overriding value and took the quest for methodology a step further Rein’s stand on equality in his theory of Justice based on the values of equity and fairness, arguing that “… Society should try to exercise equity and fairness in all its social relations. Mayer (1985:55). McCrae focused on the way in which loaners advocate values and argued that planners must use ethical argument based on clarity, consistency and generality. Mayer (1985:56-57) Economic Model The Economic model emerged in the sass’s with the rising interest in the social sciences and the perspective they offered for the analysis and problem solving of social or public issues. In an effort to apply a more scientific approach to their business human services developed practices that often replaced rather than enhanced practices previously based on experience and ideology. Deckhand in Mayer (1985:46) Mayer suggests that model is “highly idealistic…. TTS demands are so complex and consume so many resources that the model is impractical as a guide to decision making in most situations. ” In reality though, many health services are planned and funded using this model. An example of the complexity of the economic model can be illustrated in the use of the WISE system to determine the price paid for hospital services taking into account specialization, economies or scale and remoteness.
Essentially WISE is a cost weight (W) that is adjusted for time spent in hospital (SEES), and represents a relative measure of resource use for each episode of are in a Diagnosis Related Group (DRAG). WISE allocated to an episode depends upon the episodes DRAG, the amount of time spent in hospital, and the episodes eligibility for WISE co-payments. For example: 0. 19 WISE is allocated to a same day chemotherapy patient 7. 51 WISE is allocated too liver transplant patient dying after 3 days 30. 2 WISE is allocated to a liver transplant patient staying 40 days (no mechanical ventilation) 40. 21 WISE is allocated too liver transplant patient staying 40 days (including 10 days of mechanical ventilation) (http:// www. Health. Vic. Gob. U/schemas/definitions May 2010) Human service organizations delivering community services can also face the constraints of the economic model when delivering individualized services to clients who have an allocated funding package with specific restrictions around the type of support that can be provided or purchased.
Lidded (2003:58) describes the economic model as being “… Highly economic, mathematical, abstract and complex. ” The inclusion of this model in planning for the human services can present real challenges for staff who may have an altruistic motivation to work in this field. Services are frequently required to port performance against targets via the quarterly data collection tool which in turn allows the funding body to measure achievement against a minimum data set.
Evaluation of the effectiveness of services in this way uses the ‘science’ the original founders of the model favored midway through last century, but overlooks client outcomes as a measure of success. As an example, the XX program delivered by Expressive a psycho-social rehabilitation and support service to adults with a serious Ana on-going mental Illness. I en program reports mourns AT service only Ana is not required to measure personal outcomes for clients.
This narrow view of program effectiveness – inputs/outputs does not support continuous quality improvement or progressive program enhancements as it is possible to achieve targets by opening the house so that clients can attend but not necessarily engage with staff or others. In reality, clients are engaged in a range of activities with a strong emphasis on recovery, social inclusion and social enterprise. Clients drive the development of an activity plan for the house and are actively involved in all aspects of the program. Which model for XX’?
XX provides a range of primary health and psycho-social support services across XX. With 90 programs and almost 400 staff the approach to planning varies. If pressed to choose a model most appropriate for XIII would argue that the Ethical model would be the most fitting. The ethical model sits comfortably with the Social Model of Health the health promotion philosophy under which Exasperates and I believe that generally the organizations approach to service planning and delivery aligns with the notions of distributive Justice, equality, and equity and fairness ascribed to Titmouse, Rein, Rails and McCrae in Mayer (1985:54-57).
The Service has articulated it’s approach to selection and development of services in the organizations policy on service planning. The policy states “>COCO is committed to providing consumers with the best possible services and outcomes through continuous quality improvement that is designed to plan, monitor and review the quality and future directions of our service.
It goes on to describe the way the organization will achieve this: non-discriminatory provision of services continual review of practices consider best practice and available evidence in planning comply with professional standards community health promotion and education that addresses the social determinants of health consult with the community and seek consumer feedback when planning services contribute to community groups that address issues of community health encourage research and evaluation. Encourage Community groups and individuals to use XX facilities for purposes that are consistent with the vision, mission and values of XX collect data/ statistics in accordance with funding and service agreements be informed by current demographic data ensure that all services delivered are sensitive to the cultural and diverse needs of the consumer group Undertake an annual business planning cycle respect the rights of individuals and act in a manner which respects and promotes human rights.
Although the ethical model of planning most closely suits Exeter organization also places strong emphasis on accountability and reporting which is more resonant with the economic planning model. Over time, the organization has used knowledge gained through evaluation along with data and community consultation to inform program review and redesign, an approach that fits within the incremental model of planning. In conclusion, planning is a fundamental function of human service organizations.
Planning assaults organizations to set ten agenda Ana Loretta to ensure Tanat ten services delivered reflect both the organizations values and the needs of the communities they serve. Managers employ a range of planning strategies ranging from the informal and ad-hoc to more structured and complex. Program planning in human service organizations should align with the organization Mission, vision and values and include evaluation strategies from the early stages of planning.
Effective planning and evaluation ensures that resources including time, people and funding re applied optimally, and supports insights into what works, thereby supporting the development of best practice models. Organizations may plan ineffectively for a number of reasons, time pressures, resource constraints and poor knowledge of planning approaches can mean that well intended staff simply get on with the business of helping people.