The Dialogue and Change Award

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The new Dialogue and Change Award will help us evaluate the impact of Public Involvement and Community Engagement across our activities.

The principles of public involvement and community engagement are well established and the benefits to research are also well documented.

As an Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), we are committed to establishing high quality public involvement and community engagement (PICE) at all levels across the ARC – including within each of the ARC Research Themes and at an individual research project level.

We want to ensure that our PICE activities are impactful and transformational – and that they help to shape the way that research is designed, conducted and implemented.

Piloting a new approach to evaluate impact

As part of this ongoing commitment, we are piloting a model of evaluating the impact of PICE.

This model draws upon the experience of Investing in Children, an independent children’s rights organisation based in the North East of England, which has developed an approach to service improvement by embracing meaningful and sustained dialogue with service users (in this case children and young people) as part of the process of research, service design and review.

This has been developed into the ‘Investing in Children Membership Award’ and you can find out more about that award, on their website at

We propose to use the principles and template of the Investing in Children Membership Award to create a new quality assurance standard, the Dialogue and Change Award that will provide evidence that research projects are engaging the public/communities in an active dialogue about the design and delivery of their services, or in the case of research, that the research process itself has been the subject of dialogue and improvement.

Initially, we will be asking the research projects that have been funded through our Open Funding Competition 2020 to trial this new approach. The Award is for all of the OFC research projects, not just those that involve children and young people.

How will the process work?

The process will be relatively straightforward and un-bureaucratic. A dedicated, experienced member of the Investing in Children (IiC)  team has been allocated to this project. A discussion will take place between the IiC assessor and the research team in which the strength of the evidence will be considered and a realistic assessment of the chance of success will be offered.

A series of visits will then be arranged and conversations will take place with the people who are involved in the research, in which they will provide evidence of dialogue and change.

These conversations can focus on collective decision making and/or individual decision making. A report will then be drafted, based upon the evidence. The people who contributed to the conversations will be invited to check the report and approve its recommendations. If the evidence is positive, and they endorse the conclusions, then a Dialogue and Change Award will be given to the project.

Where there is insufficient evidence to justify an Award, further discussions may take place between IiC and the research team, which will be encouraged to regroup and try again. This often this leads to enthusiastic and imaginative conversations between those involved, which then becomes the evidence that supports a successful re-evaluation.

Where can I find out more?

If you have any questions about the Dialogue and Change Award, please email Dr Felicity Shenton, PICE Manager for the ARC NENC –

Or Emma Rogan at Investing in Children –

There are also some additional resources below which you might find useful.