Challenging closures and cuts - Gathering evidence
How can I get evidence for a campaign?
If you want to start your own campaign about cuts or closures of local services, you will need to gather evidence. Evidence will help you to show the impact the proposed cuts or closures will have on local people.
For example, the local authority or NHS may think they are saving money by cutting a service. While the cut might save money in the short term, it could cost them more in the long term.
Because of the cuts, people may have to use crisis services more often if the service is no longer there to keep them well. Any evidence that the service stops people from using crisis or hospital services may be helpful.
Think about getting the following information as evidence for your campaign:
- The benefits the service has for people.
- What will happen if people can’t use it any more.
- Information about the financial effects of the cuts – how does the service save money?
You could get this from different sources, including:
- evidence from focus groups, and
- case studies.
A service evaluation says how a service has been performing. They are written by organisations that ‘inspect’ or ‘audit’ the service. If the service has any evaluations that it is willing to share, these may have useful information you can use in your campaign. You may be able to get copies of the service evaluation from your local CCG.
Surveys can be a quick way to get evidence from a large group of people. You can send out surveys online or by post. But online surveys tend to reach a wider audience and are quicker and cheaper to make.
Try to get at least 30 – 50 completed surveys to give a realistic picture. If you keep the survey short more people are likely to complete it.
There are websites which you can use to make online surveys. One to try is: www.surveymonkey.com.
A focus group is a way to gather a small group of people to discuss a topic that affects them, such as NHS cuts. You could arrange a focus group in your local area to interview people affected by the proposed closures or cuts. Focus groups work best when the groups are small – ideally less
than ten people at a time.
For useful tips on how to run a focus group, Citizens Advice provide a free guide here.
It can be useful to share personal stories of people who have used the mental health service. You can ask them about the impact this service has had on their lives. Ask them to think about how their life will be different without being able to use the service.
If you want to share someone’s case study, make sure that you get the person’s permission first. If the person would prefer not to give their name, you could offer to change it when you write the story.
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