Running electoral registration - Scotland

Monitoring and evaluating the success of your public engagement strategy

Monitoring and evaluating the success of your public engagement strategy

Evaluations are essential for measuring the effectiveness of a project and demonstrating achievements

Your engagement strategy and registration plan needs to be updated to reflect findings of your monitoring and evaluation. You should update it to reflect lessons learnt from work you have already undertaken and to include any new information about your registration area.

This information will help to continue to refine the picture you have of the demographics of your area, confirm what the key challenges for engaging with your residents are and measure which activities are most effective in engaging with different target audiences

You should outline how you will monitor and evaluate how effective your public engagement activity and tactics to engage your target groups were during the last canvass, at scheduled polls, and in your ongoing activity to maximise registration. Did you reach your target audience?

Measuring the success of your engagement activities

In order to evaluate the success of an activity, it is important to have clear, measurable objectives and any evaluation measures should relate back clearly to the initial objectives.

It is likely that a variety of methods will be needed to evaluate a project. To identify the most appropriate methods to use for evaluation you should define the questions to be asked to form the evaluation and consider how these questions might be answered. 

There are a variety of methods that can be used to assess the effectiveness of your activity, some of which might be behaviour-based (what people have done, what has actually happened) and some of which might be perception-based (what people believe to have happened). 

The following are some mechanisms for collecting evidence to support your evaluation:

  • recording feedback from the public at events or via your website
  • recording the level of responses as a result of the activity
  • recording the number of enquiries on the subject
  • recording the number of hits to the website requesting information 
  • recording any feedback provided on social media
  • distributing evaluation questionnaires or feedback forms at the end of an event
  • conducting a public opinion survey to determine whether the public were aware of your activity, their thoughts about it and whether they took action as a result
  • conducting pre-activity and post-activity surveys to determine whether people’s knowledge and awareness of registration and the process has increased as a result of the activity
  • interviews with stakeholders to determine what they thought of the activity
  • focus groups held with residents to gather feedback – potentially as part of other events 

It is also important to attempt to measure:

  • environmental factors or background noise: to what extent is increased participation the result of your activity or of some other factors?
  • the base case: i.e. what would have happened in the absence of the activity?
  • the number of relevant people who were exposed to the activity
  • the number of times people were exposed to the activity
  • any increases in the number of people taking action, such as registering to vote
  • any positive feedback from participants in a scheme
  • whether people’s understanding of the process has increased
  • any increase in requests for information

The evaluation plan needs to set out who will participate in the evaluation and who is responsible for the various parts of the evaluation.

Monitoring of progress and evaluation should be carried out at the end of each key stage of registration activity to ensure activities are effective and remain appropriate. 

While it is important to undertake evaluation as extensively as possible, consideration should be given to the resources allocated and the cost of evaluation should be proportionate to the cost of the project. 

You may not be able to evaluate everything in the detail you would like and you should set out any limitations to the evaluation in your plans, including any potential risks to the reliability and validity of the evaluation and findings.

Your evaluation plans should identify relevant stakeholders, such as other local authorities, who may be interested in the evaluation and with whom the findings should be shared. 

Last updated: 6 October 2020