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Understanding of the Brief
The commissioner for the GWS Housing Group is in a mission to recruit qualified consultants on an interim basis to evaluate its tenant focused ‘housing services program’. The consultant will be in a position to show the approach of selecting the most appropriate processes and techniques for evaluation.
The commissioner is also looking for the consultants who understand the background and context to the tenant focused housing services.
Apparently, the tenant focused housing services involve its tenants in three key priority areas, which include the production of information for the ‘choice based lettings process’, which is online based, and the appointment of contractors for the repairs of their estate; they also benchmark between the locations.
The service also has three key objectives, which include the provision of opportunities for the tenants to control the quality, type and cost of the housing services and enabling the priority of tenants to be reflected in the GWS business plan.
Another objective is the development of an approach to housing services, which stands out as the best practice all through the south east of England. With these objectives in mind, the consultants’ mission will be to focus on the choice based lettings process in the production of information and the appointment of contractors for the repairs on their estate.
In addition the commissioner expects the consultants to be able to develop an interim evaluation report, which is based on the understanding of the policy, range of techniques, concluding remarks and the appropriate references.
The Policy Context/Good Practice Background
For the effective delivery of housing services by any organization, the tenants must be involved in one way or the other. The main reasons why tenants are involved are to improve the service delivery, to enhance accountability, encouraging community participation and developing a social capital.
Moreover, involving the residents has a direct benefit to them, businesses and the wider community. The decision by the ‘Tenant Focused Housing Services’ to ensure that tenants participate in its programs will result in the enhancement of its performance, good delivery of services and improved accountability.
If for instance, the service decides to involve the tenants in refurbishment and clean up exercises, then tenancy turnover gaps can be hugely reduced, which will also benefit the tenants themselves. On the part of the tenants, such kind of involvement will help improve their community participation at the local level besides building their capacities.
Based on these reasons, the service must consider involving tenants as an integral component in their objectives. This, however, requires a soberly informed approach and strategic decision making, which can only be achieved through putting down a comprehensive tenant participation strategy (Hunston 2010, p. 56). Such a strategy must aim at addressing two things.
To begin with, it must be built upon the improvement of the quality and efficiency of the housing service of the ‘Tenant Focused Housing Services’. It must also aim at putting the tenants at the core of managing the housing units within their areas of aboard, in accordance with the laws of the land.
In this connection, therefore, the different legislations and policies concerning housing in the United Kingdom, particularly England, must be understood and appreciated. Apparently, the country has several legislations and policies that are geared toward improving the quality of housing in the UK.
Some of them include The General Housing Consents 2012-Section 32 of the Housing Act 1985, The New Homes Bonus Scheme Grant Determination 2012-13: 31/1981, Change to Ground Rent Notice and Part X Land Held by Public Bodies: Schedule 16 Bodies Covered by Part X
Approach to the Interim Evaluation
For the efficient accomplishment of the objectives of the Tenant Focused Housing Services, a careful approach must be used in the evaluation process. This is because individual evaluation processes have distinct ways of solving problems in their own rights.
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For the purposes of attaining the goals and objectives of the Tenant Focused Housing Services, the implementation of three evaluation approaches to the program is necessary. These approaches include the outcome based evaluation, the process and impact evaluation, and the participatory evaluation.
The outcome based evaluation is where data is gathered and analyzed with an aim of establishing the effectiveness of a program in its mission to accomplish its objectives. Upon commencing the project, the consultant with the Tenant Focused Housing Services will have an obligation of gathering the relevant information time after time to consistently ascertain if the stated objectives are really being met.
Various adjustments and interventions will then be induced in accordance with the outcome of the data analysis and the information collected (Bozarth 2008, p. 220).
In the process of impact evaluation, measurements will be made on the well being of the operations of the project; they will be based on whether or not the project is able to attain the requirements of the target population.
This implies the impacts of the project and the manner in which it is satisfying its goals must be considered. In this project, a continuous study will take place to ensure that the tenants of the GSW Housing Group are really living up to the expected standards and according to the original plan.
In participatory evaluation, all the stakeholders are given opportunities to have their hands on experience in the process of monitoring and evaluation of the project activities. Practical involvements of the owners of the project are guaranteed through the use of a variety and specific tools and equipments.
This ensures that cases of isolation and marginalization do not occur. In this case, the tenants are not only the clients for the project, but also a big force to reckon with in terms of stake holding. In fact, they are the most important stakeholders to the whole project. They must, therefore, be involved in every process and in various parts of the project (Weiss 2008, p. 162).
The Tenant Focused Housing Services apparently has a project team, which comprises of five GWS staff, out of which three are tenants drawn from each of the estates. This is a good start toward ensuring that effective participatory evaluation approach is attained by the service.
It is important to note that evaluation involves the use of activities, which are usually very good structured but complex. Moreover, different evaluation approaches are designed to meet different goals and objectives, which are also multi faced.
It is against this standard that the process of evaluation should be assumed as an activity that brings together the efforts of various stakeholders involved. Therefore, a unifying modeled approach should be adopted for the same.
Techniques/Methods Used to Undertake the Evaluation Process
Based on the nature and requirements of the objectives of the projects of Tenant Focused Housing Services, the program is going to use a variety of techniques and methods in its evaluation. Of utmost importance, however, is the selection of the most appropriate tool for the evaluation process. Some of the tools that are widely used for evaluation include interviews, observations, questionnaires and focus groups.
For the purposes evaluation of this study, all the tools will be used in their appropriate places. Depending on the cultural context of the tenants, there will be a careful selection of the tools to be used. The evaluation process is a specific procedure of gathering information.
Therefore, the types of the information to be collected from the respondents will matter a lot in the selection of the right tool. In this case, the design of the tenants’ aboard will also offer a good consideration to make the process more specific.
From the information provided under the basic information column, it is evident that different locations within the Tenant Focused Housing Services have different characteristics and the number of homes and people. This implies that each will tentatively receive a specific evaluation tool.
In locations such as the LB Southwark for instance, which has two thousand occupants, it will not be possible to interview each and every tenant. This makes the questionnaire the most effective tool for gathering information and evaluating the activities of the location.
Through the administration of questionnaires, specifically designed questions will be asked to the tenants concerning the achievement of the GWS Housing Group’s objectives and the process involved.
Questionnaires will not only be used in obtaining data on whether the project goals were met or not, but also on the manner in which the activities took place and suggestions on the key areas of improvement (Saris & Gallhofer 2007, p. 249).
This, however, will require the administration of the open ended questions in the questionnaire. In addition, this tool will be used to find out whether the activities of the Tenant Focused Housing Services have had any bearing to the tenants and the surrounding communities.
In order to ascertain the appropriateness of the evaluation tool to be used for the process, it is important to first carry out a baseline study on the population size and the modalities of the study area. This can provide a hint on the exact components of study that are required.
Location LB can also use the focus groups to gather information from the many people who comprise its population. In this case, small groups comprising of between six to twelve people will take part in a discussion on specific issues of the subject in a bid of reveal self disclosure among the tenants. This is an effective way of involving the stakeholders in making decisions concerning issues that affect their welfare.
Incidentally, both the questionnaire and the focus groups will be used as the evaluation techniques for obtaining information for the online choice based letting process and the appointment of contractors for repairs on their estate. Indeed, these are the key priority areas in which the involvement of the tenants is required (Russ-Eft & Preskill 2009, p. 428).
In order to effectively analyze the stakeholders’ response, it could have been prudent if the GWS Housing Group provided more information about the details of the tenants under the basic information column. Of particular importance is the age groups and distribution amongst the locations.
However, having demonstrated an in depth analysis on the requirements, the processes of the evaluation and the crucial aspect of involving the tenants in decision making; my final submission is that the objectives of the program will definitely be accomplished.
Bozarth, J 2008, From analysis to evaluation, with cd-rom: tools, tips, and techniques for trainers, John Wiley & Sons San Francisco.
Hunston, S 2010, Corpus approaches to evaluation: phraseology and evaluative language, Taylor & Francis, Kansas.
Russ-Eft, D, & Preskill, H 2009, Evaluation in organizations: a systematic approach to enhancing learning, performance, and change, Basic Books, New York.
Saris, WE, & Gallhofer, IN 2007, Design, evaluation, and analysis of questionnaires for survey research, Wiley-Interscience, Hoboken.
Weiss, JW 2008, Business ethics: a stakeholder and issues management approach, Cengage Learning, Mason.