Chris Sissons

Community Project Development Support

Quote of the month

September 2013

I'm working on a replacement for this site. Follow my progress at Community Web Design. This is an experimental site, watch out for the launch of the finished site in the near future. 

Chris Sissons

Ask Chris

1 January 2013

  • Why do we evaluate projects?
  • Do we need to collect evidence?
  • How do we collect it?
  • For whom?
  • When?
  • What do we do with it?
  • Will pictures of the event suffice?
  • Who should be involved?
  • How long should it take?
  • Examples of doing evaluations
  • Examples of bad practice
  • Examples of good practice
  • What would be the needs of the funders?
  • How long do we keep it?
  • Will it just gather dust on the shelf?

Charlie, W Yorkshire

Go to Ask Chris for my answer.

Non-Directive Consultancy

Vision Strategy Innovation SignpostWhilst project development and participatory methods are about the what and the how of project work, non-directive consultancy focuses upon the role of key people in the development of a project. This approach is usually carried out on a one-to-one basis, although sometimes its helpful to work with a small group.

Non-directive consultancy is a participative method, developed by George Lovell for church and community groups.  Its aim is to support the thinking of a key person at the centre of project work (the consultor).  The approach is non-directive because the consultant helps the consultor work through their own problems.  The consultor describes their work and the consultant helps model their thinking and identify ways of moving forward. The focus is upon the consultor’s role in the context of their work.

This work will normally be contracted on a sessional basis, although a retainer to provide ongoing support might sometimes be appropriate. Non-directive consultancy works well on a one-to-one basis. It would be interesting to work out how to do it by phone or Skype.

Analysis - Situations
Vision Strategy Innovation Signpost Tangled Ropes

I can help someone new to a situation (which might be a new place or a new role) marshal information, order it and identify contributions they might make.  This might be helpful to a new community development worker or a minister of religion in a new appointment.  This might be prior to project development and would focus upon an individual’s work or ministry.

Planning - Projects
Vision Strategy Innovation Signpost Plans and drawing equipment

Whilst it is usually better to plan projects in a team, sometimes project planning itself can become difficult.  A team leader might feel their team is making heavy weather of planning.  Or else something isn’t right but no-one is able to identify exactly what the problem is.  So, this is not about the detail of project development so much as taking a step back and examining the overall direction of project planning.

Implementation - Cases and Issues
Vision Strategy Innovation Signpost Equipment Of Under Construction

A case is where something has gone wrong and the consultor is personally involved.  Sometimes the consultor has made a mistake.  They might not be quite sure exactly what has gone wrong and certainly need help to rectify the situation.  Sometimes they are part of a negative situation not of their own making.  The focus of a case is upon the project rather than counselling for the consultor.

An issue is something that has gone wrong outside of the control of the consultor, eg it might be an issue in the community, where a church is based.  Whilst it is likely the consultor’s organisation will have a role in the issue, the negative energy is from somewhere else.  This might be identified whilst researching a situation it might come to light once a project is up and running and resources have been committed.  Some issues may have a wider application, for example shortage of funds might be down to government policy and so shared with many local groups.