Hurd says government must work with the sector to clarify what kinds of impact measurements are most useful

Further to this post, I notice that today third sector minister Nick Hurd has said something I wholeheartedly agree with.

In a piece in today’s Third Sector Online Hurd says that although there is a “buzz” in the sector that impact measurement is necessary, he is concerned that:

“[Impact measurement has] become too complicated for the sector. There’s a great profusion of methodologies which confuses people. We as a government should be working with the sector, as the biggest funder, to say ‘What should we be measuring?’ We should be making it easier to measure impact.”

He goes on to say that an additional problem is risk aversion amongst public commissioners of services and that more innovative means of contracting services are required that enable the sector to demonstrate its added value and impact.


  1. Simon Lee Reply

    This is encouraging, I think, though my understanding is that the reason for proliferation of the different forms of measuring impact is that the government (in both its previous and current iteration) has not yet given its support to one ‘official’ methodology.

    Until we get such a recommended methodology, we will continue to suggest to clients that some form of measuring social impact (even if it is not perfect) is better than no form of measuring impact.

    If social enterprises and other ‘third sector’ bodies are to successfully win contracts, surely being able to prove impact is the key to differentiating from the private sector.

    • Tony Clabby Reply

      Especially, as public sector procurement now has to take “social value” into account. How are they going to measure it? It would not make sense for their methodology to be different to that used by the tendering organisation.

  2. Alun Severn Reply

    Simon, Tony — The points you make are right — which is why it *is* encouraging that Hurd seems to have woken up to the need for the government and public purchasers more generally to work with the sector to clarify a workable framework.

    On second thoughts, perhaps “workable framework” is my own wishful thinking — Hurd’s speech didn’t use quite those terms….but that is what is needed.

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