All youth work should be monitored and evaluated. It is an important part of detached youth work because the work is largely unseen and so reporting on the engagement will give funding organisations and supporters an idea of what has been achieved. It will also help give an understanding of what the work entails and will give an understanding that the work is more than ‘making friends’.
Evaluation involves the collation of all monitoring information and using this information to make assessments about its effectiveness.
Monitoring is about continually collecting information over a period of time. The information needs to be relevant to the aims and objectives of the detached work.
Evaluation asks the question, “Have we done what we set out to do and have we met our project aims?”
Data Collection. Providing evidence can create suspicion amongst the young people. Developing relationships and building trust will help but ultimately the young people will need to co-operate and be part of this data collection.
Where and When to record. It needs to be given time and preferably at the end of a session. Meetings should allow all to contribute but this might not be possible due to weather etc.
Reviewing and Revising. What happened measured against what was intended.