40 people from across the city came together in Harehills because they were concerned about the impact of poverty in Leeds; because they know that we cannot claim to be a good city, never mind a great one while 1 in 5 of our children live in poverty. The group included university students and staff, people from private, public and third sector backgrounds and of ‘no sector.’
They came together not just to talk about the problem, and to learn about it, but to see what practical actions they might be able to do that would help, and to have some fun.
We spent much of the first hour exploring an approach to making change happen called ‘Results Based Accountability’ (RBA) pioneered by Mark Friedman. We spent a bit of time sorting out some jargon (What is a ‘result’? What does an indicator look like? What makes it different from a ‘benchmark’?) If you want to get a feel of what we looked, at the slide deck is here.
We then spent time examining some of the ‘curves’ associated with poverty and what we might be able to do to turn them. What, in RBA language, are called Turning the Curve Exercises.
Some of the curves we looked at turning included:
- the number of children entitled to free school meals who are not taking them up (this stands at about 4000 or 24%)
- the number of families who are not claiming all the benefits to which they are entitled (forecast to rise as the Welfare Reform Act kicks in)
- the number of families in the ward with no-one working
In some cases we found that we needed to learn more about the curves we wanted to turn. How many families in our ward have no-one working? Is the number going up or down? In other cases the problem was figuring out what might work to turn the curve. In others it was clear that we needed to work with other partners if we wanted to make a difference and conversation turned to how we might get them to join us.
Here is an TTC Template With Notes that we used to help us think about turning curves and here is theTTC Template Without notes that we used to structure our work.It is pretty clear to me that for at least some of these curves new collaborations will be set up with the intention of taking actions to turn the curve.
The plan is to hold similar Results Factories every quarter where we will further develop existing work to turn the curves and where there is a gap to start work on new curves. The next Results Factory on Disrupting Poverty is likely to be Friday April 27th again between 1 and 3.30pm, probably at the University. Please pencil the date in your diary and reserve your place here.
We are also setting up an email list to allow us all to keep in touch.. If you would like to join the email list please use the contact form to ensure we have your email or sign up to receive email updates using the box on the right.
We have also set up a facebook page where we can carry on the conversations.
We hope to build a movement in the city of people who want to act in a coordinated and organised way to disrupt poverty in Leeds. Anyone is welcome, to work on any projects that has a ‘reasoned chance’ of disrupting poverty, of making a positive difference. So, please think about joining us if you haven’t already and think about who else you know who might want to get involved.
Finally a big thank you to the team who made this Results Factory happen, primarily Nic, Ben and Sharon, Logistik, Leeds University Students Union and Leeds City Council.