Health checks for groups
You're meeting a group for the first time.
- What are the things you need to find out before you start working with them?
- What level should you pitch your support?
- They came to you about funding, but can you be sure there's not more to the story?
- What about agreeing an action plan? Or even an agreement?
Health checks for groups (or Organisational health checks) are a commonly used tool for assessing a group's current state and needs. They can help you to be systematic and consistent about the questions you ask and the information you record.
There are loads of health checks for groups being used by development workers in local infratructure organisations. We've collected a sample. While there are some common topics (for instance: contact details, funding, governance and so on) they range enormously in content and style. This reflects the fact that development workers' jobs are so varied and particular.
Have a look to be inspired to create - or improve - your own health check form so that it's a really useful tool for you.
Other people's health checks
A friendly four-sider that uses a quick traffic light system to prioritise the areas of a group's development need most support. Covers funding, strategic planning, governance, quality and volunteering.
Twenty-one sides with nearly 100 questions on organisational governance and management; finance; human resources; equal opportunities; health and safety.
Things to think about
- Is it useable - will it help you with your work?
- Is it the right length? Is the balance between getting enough detail and practical use about right?
- Is it user-friendly, not overly bureaucratic?
- How are you going to use it? Lots of people go through the form with a group, but there might be times when it's a good idea to leave it with them to finish without you
- How can you check that the people you're working with represent the whole group?
- Will it work well for sharing information with other people in your team or organisation?
- Forms, check lists and health checks can never replace good, solid group development work. Check out SKiLD's learning activities for ideas.
- Consider using an existing simple quality system such as PQASSO (Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Groups) from Charities Evaluation Services or Quality First from Birmingham Voluntary Service Council
- One network of development workers has used the SKiLD framework as the basis for designing their own health check for groups, so you could have a look at www.skild.org.uk/competencies
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