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Auditing and data collection

“The first step towards getting somewhere is knowing you don’t want to stay where you are.”

Before you decide on any action, you have to know what the current situation is. So the first step is to audit your organisation. From a disability perspective, what do you currently do to include, provide access for, involve, support or attract disabled people?

This can uncover some surprising information, and can be seen very differently by different people in the same organisation.

There needs to be a clear and identifiable link between your evidence and the actions you are taking. Anyone looking at your scheme should be able to see how you have used your evidence to prioritise your actions.

Five steps to auditing

  1. Audit all aspects of what you do
  2. Get different people’s opinions
  3. What do disabled people themselves think?
  4. What are the gaps in your information and how can you fill them?
  5. Analyse the information - what does it tell you?

Audit all aspects of what you do

This isn’t just about audiences and participants. This has to be right across everything you do – governance, employment, programming, partners, marketing… Think of it like a stick of rock, its got to run right through. Check out the getting started section for some practical suggestions on how to do this.

Get different people’s opinions

And check out what different people in your organisation think. You may think you already do loads, but is that view shared across the organisation? Does everyone know what you offer, right across the organisation? Do your board know what you do and have an opinion on it?

What do people outside of your organisation think?

If your audit only looks from your perspective outwards you are missing a trick – how much do disabled people outside your organisation know about what you offer? This links into the consultation and involvement strand too.

What are the gaps in your information and how can you fill them?

You won’t know everything – so use this time to work out how you can find out what you need to know. Is there other information out there you can draw on – perhaps held by your local authority, Arts Council England or other public bodies? Your action plan can include actions to fill those gaps and improve your evidence base. These might be things you work on alone or you might want to work with others to ‘gap fill’.

Analyse the information - what does it tell you?

Finding out where you are and what you do is only one half of the picture. Now take a step back and look at what that information is telling you. Are you only concentrating on a specific group of disabled people? Are you putting lots of effort into marketing which is not impacting on audiences? Is all your information focused on front facing activity and none on employment, governance or other aspects of what you do. Look at what you know, What significant issues is it pointing you towards? Use your information to determine what issues you need to prioritise for action within your scheme.