By Aidan Flegg
Aidan Flegg, University of Glasgow, reflects on work he has been involved in to find new ways to measure Just Fair’s work.
2021 has been a year like no other. The impact of Covid-19 can still be felt in every sinew of our society as pre-existing inequalities were exacerbated throughout the UK. There has been no more a vital time, nor vital an opportunity, to push for the recognition of economic, social, and cultural rights as basic human rights in the UK. As our health crises worsened, the right to health grew in pertinence. As our schools shut and families struggled to afford food, the right to education and the right to food took central stage. Economic, social, and cultural rights ‘are the rights of everyday life’ and Just Fair has been working with partners across the UK to ensure they are respected, protected, and fulfilled. From lobbying government, providing evidence to international reports, and engaging with local authorities regarding imbedding the Equality Acts socio-economic duty, Just Fair has promoted economic, social, and cultural rights. Further still, in line with their Theory of Change, this work has seen new networks develop and relationships to form between grassroots and established organisations alike, leading to much-needed fresh thinking and conversations on how we rebuild from the pandemic.
While impact can be felt within Just Fair’s work and steps forward continue to be taken, measuring impact is notoriously difficult. To gain a better understanding and ensure the impact from all their work is captured, Just Fair engaged with a team of academic reviewers, including myself, working from the University of Glasgow. Working alongside this team has brought a new dimension to how they measure their work. We developed a pro forma to aid how Just Fair captures impact, with space for links to be shared to the project and major enablers or barriers to the work to be identified. The aim is to capture baseline data and act as a measurements tool to ensure Just Fair are well placed to create lasting change. Reflections can be added at any time. Our evaluation team utilised the PANEL principles to underpin the work with a human rights-based approach. These are: Participation, Accountability, Non-Discrimination, Empowerment, and the Rule of Law, and were used as a baseline matrix from which to understand impact. Through utilising the PANEL principles as a matrix to which you can add or assess the baseline data, it enables viewing the project work through the lens of five principles key to adopting human rights-based approach. We continue to work alongside the team at Just Fair with the shared goal of realising social, economic, and cultural rights outcomes throughout the UK.