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Fundamental rights initiatives should produce concrete outcomes that help people realise their rights.
Public officials in Tower Hamlets (UK) coined the phrase “so what” to explain this point. At the end of a project or series of activities it should be possible to answer the question: “so what has changed?” If there is no tangible change, then why has this work taken place?
Source: Focus group discussion
Methods to evaluate the final impact of a measure should entail an independent evaluation, self-evaluation and feedback from beneficiaries.
Feedback from beneficiaries
Structured feedback from the beneficiaries of policies or activities can be used to assess the fundamental rights impact. For example: Has disability awareness training led to changes in behaviour of frontline service staff? Do people with disabilities actually notice a difference in staff behaviour when they use a particular service?
Independent evaluation and self-evaluation
An independent evaluation will enhance the legitimacy of a final report on a project, activity or policy measure. It will also enable civil society and other stakeholders to be involved. Self-evaluation can be an important learning tool for those responsible to reflect about how they have performed and whether a change of their own approach is required.
Planning new initiatives
Basing new fundamental rights initiatives on the lessons learnt from previous work is obviously important. If no assessment on the results of current policies is carried out, it is much harder to learn from mistakes, or to identify those initiatives which have the most promising results. It makes it easier to identify the vision, goals or objectives to be achieved and formulate the strategies needed to achieve them. The implementation of fundamental rights must cross-cut different areas and needs long-term commitment. This requires work that goes beyond the implementation of single or isolated legislative measures, policy instruments, projects or initiatives.
To mainstream fundamental rights into the organisational culture and across areas of work, it can be beneficial to add a fundamental rights dimension into general evaluation tools. For example, fundamental rights indicators can be integrated into audit tools or performance targets.