Demonstrating Impact in 5 easy steps

HLG Nursing Bulletin Vol 36 (3/4)

Lesley Allen
Library Services Manager
Smallwood Library
Moseley Hall Hospital
Alcester Road
B13 8JL

On 27th June 2017, 24 of us gathered in eager anticipation at CILIP’s HQ in London to have the mysteries of demonstrating impact revealed to us in five easy steps. Not a tall order at all!

Victoria Treadway (@Librarianpocket) and Tracey Pratchett (@TraceyPratchett), our course facilitators, were quick to put us at our ease and get us chatting in our groups about what we wanted to get out of the session. The reasons were varied and included compliance with LQAF, bidding for funding and capturing the impact of a search.

To begin with, we needed a definition of what impact was:

“…..the difference or change in an individual or group resulting from their contact with library services….”

British Standard ISO 16439: 2014 – 3.25

To help us work through the steps of demonstrating impact, we were given a workbook that took us through the various stages. Victoria and Tracey worked with groups and individuals to help them at each stage with useful prompts and tips.

Step 1 – How will the project help your organisation?

Ideally any new project should show how it supports local, regional and national drivers. To make the most of impact, you need to show a link between your service and the priorities of the organisation. Examples included improving patient care and contributing to cost savings.

Step 2 – Develop a project plan

Developing a plan for the project involves asking (and answering) a number of questions:

  • Who will be involved?
  • Do you need any additional resources?
  • What time frames are you looking at?
  • What does success look like?
  • How will you evaluate and demonstrate impact?

An ideas template is available on the MAP toolkit

Step 3 – Run and evaluate the project

For this we need a detailed action plan with progress, responsibility and progress. We need to monitor progress and identify and deal with any risks.

For this stage, we were given a scenario and a selection of impact tools. We had to decide which one we thought worked best for our particular scenario and then feedback to the wider group. Supporting information for this stage is available via the Knowledge for Healthcare blog and also the CILIP impact toolkit (CILIP members only).

Step 4 – Write up the findings

Once the project is complete, you need to write it up for dissemination. This includes telling the story of the project, show the evidence base, the impact on the organisation/person, discuss the lessons learnt and think about the sustainability of the project. The impact of the project might include things like:

  • Did it result in a change in practice?
  • Were there any cost savings?
  • Was a product created as a result? (guideline, policy for example)
  • Have more resources been made available?

Again, a template is available to help with this at

Step 5 – SHOUT ABOUT IT!!!

Most people won’t have time to read a full report, but that shouldn’t stop us letting people know about what we’ve done. Ideal opportunities include team meetings, newsletters, twitter, conference, website etc. So, was it a good day? Yes, it was. It was a relaxed atmosphere that enabled everyone to participate and learn by doing, Victoria and Tracey were approachable and knowledgeable, offering their details to us if we had any questions after the event.

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