What are the differences between tracking my activities and evaluating the services my agency provides?

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Keeping track of the support activities you deliver is an important part of your agency’s practice. It allows you to collect the information you need to:

  • fulfill your accountability requirements to your funders
  • show that you are delivering the activities you are funded to provide in your community or across Ontario.

Tools to Track Day-to-Day Activities

In the case of HIV support services, there are many tools that can help you keep track of your day-to-day activities.

For example, client case management systems such as OCASE provide an effective way to keep track of client level data. They also provide a way to document changes that your work contributes to (for example: improved health, decreased isolation, or a return to school).

  • For agencies that use OCASE, please refer to the electronic Support Services document and help videos to assist you in keeping track of the support activities provided to your clients. (http://www.ohtn.on.ca/ebpu-training-modules/)

For agencies that do not have a client case management system, there are data collection tools that have been created to help you track the minimum reporting requirements for OCHART.

The data that you collect through tracking shows the number of activities you have delivered and who you’ve delivered them to (e.g., a total of 125 support sessions provided to 50 clients). However, the tracked data does not help you understand how you can improve your programs or what impact various programs are having on your clients. This is where evaluation can help you.

What questions can evaluation answer?

Evaluation questions are linked to the purpose of your evaluation. A sample purpose statement might be:

  • The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the extent to which our support program is meeting its intended outcomes and identify areas for improvement.

Evaluation questions are the broader questions that relate to your purpose statement. They identify what you want to talk about after you finish your evaluation. Evaluation questions are not the questions that you want to ask your clients.

Sample evaluation questions might be:

  • What are areas where we are doing well with our support program?
  • What are areas where we can improve our support program?
  • How is the support program benefiting the health of our clients?

You can answer these questions by gathering data from your clients. The sample tools in this online library offer different ways of doing so.