Sector development

The key to this intervention Sector development, also called capacity building, refers to the provision of information, knowledge and skills to improve an organisation’s or individual’s ability to assess need, improve intervention design, create a more enabling environment and increase the efficiency with which they use their limited resources. It incorporates both organisationsal development and workforce development.

Workforce development activities

Due to relatively high staff turn-over and frequent restructuring within many organisations delivering MSM HIV prevention, there is a requirement for continuous development of an ever-changing workforce. Workforce development interventions should engage users through recognition of the skills and experience they bring to the field, while also facilitating their acquisition of new skills and relevant information. At an individual level this is often referred to as Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

In the context of HIV prevention with gay men and other MSM, workforce development is far more common than organisational development, and usually takes the form of conferences, training events, and evidence briefings, email updates, newsletters and other written interventions including websites.

In the context of CHAPS, workforce development interventions included the annual CHAPS conference, expert seminars, and both Making it Count itself, and its associated Briefing Sheets.

Continuous professional development is usually defined as the systematic maintenance and improvement of knowledge, skills and competence throughout a professional's working life.

Ideally al new staff and volunteers should undergo a comprehensive induction to organisational policies, values and ethics, as well as statutory requirements on equality, rights and confidentiality. This requires genuine work-place compliance backed-up by accessible written policies.

In addition, mangers, staff and volunteers of organisations should establish and adhere to continuous professional development plans. This should include assessments of need in a variety of skill and resource areas, followed up with an agreed action plan which may include attending further training, seminars, or conferences; keeping up-to-date with research findings, briefing papers, newsletters or email updates; job shadowing; or mentoring.

In the HIV sector, some organisations play a significant role as providers of information and training to staff and volunteers from other agencies. Agencies, such as NAM and NAT undertake a diverse range of activities to support workforce development in their own and other organisations including: provision of electronic resources that summarise developments in the field; or hosting seminars and conferences.

Organisational development activities

Managers, staff and volunteers should strive for a sustainable approach to organisational development. Managers require extensive fundraising skills and familiarity with the funding environment. They should also oversee organisation-wide accountability policies and practice, in addition to strong commitment to monitoring and evaluation which will be useful in securing future funding.

All personnel should be skillful and approachable, promoting a receptive image to potential service users. To reduce staff-turnover, managers should ensure a working environment conducive to personal and professional development.

Gathering and applying evidence: Managers, staff and volunteers play important roles in gathering data from their own service users, or functioning as gatekeepers for research and evaluation activities. This may involve: participant recruitment, hosting research activity, publicising research to service users or being a research participant. In addition, there are often decisions to be made regarding how to prioritise requests for agency participation in research and evaluation activity.

Organisations also play a leading role in the development of research agendas by identifying areas requiring further investigation among those whose needs they aim to meet. This requires commitment to research processes, from start to finish, in consultative or engagment roles, through steering group membership, or project management. This helps to shift the focus from being a passive recipient of research evidence to active involvement in shaping research findings and resulting recommendations.

As part of gathering and applying evidence, organisations should also ensure that intervention planning and delivery is accompanied by the thoughtful use of needs assessment, monitoring and evaluation data. These activities help providers to measure success, identify weaknesses, plan for the future and feedback to commissioners on how resources have been used.

Acknowledging failure: If organisations do not acknowledge and share information about challenges and failures, then success will be very difficult to assess. Organisational development requires a willingness to publically discuss failures, mistakes and challenges for the benefit of those planning future interventions.

Ensuring coherence and collaboration in service delivery: The diverse nature of HIV prevention requires collaborative working to provide: opportunities for combining resources, cross-referrals, developing long-term shared goals and building professional support networks.

Partnership effectiveness will depend on good leadership, service user engagement and involvement, political will and genuine cooperation towards a common goal. Partnerships should also extend beyond community-based organisations to include relevant private and statutory sector organisations. In forming partnerships, organisational similarity should be taken into account including a careful analysis of values, desired outcomes and available resources to ensure best fit for all.

The following websites provide useful information in the area of organisational development:

Aims and outcomes

Sector development interventions should provide staff members, volunteers, and board members of statutory and voluntary sector organisations with the necessary resources, skills, knowledge and understanding of the activities of other agencies to adequately contribute to HIV prevention involving gay men and MSM in England (see organsational aims). The specific content of these activities should be tailored to the needs of staff and volunteers.

Examples of aims and outcomes associated with workforce development include:

  • All service providers increase their delivery of accessible, culturally appropriate and effective HIV prevention interventions to MSM (see Organisational aim 3 and Organisational aim 6, for example).
  • All NHS (and local authority) staff increase their delivery of accessible, culturally appropriate and effective interventions to MSM, including  HIV testing and PEP provision (see Organisational aims 5-11, for example).
  • All school boards and staff increase their delivery of accessible, culturally appropriate and effective interventions to MSM (see Organisational aims 12-15, for example).

Examples of organisational development outcomes may include:

  • Increased understanding of interventions and services offered by others and increased commitment to partnership working (see Organisational aim 19, for example).
  • Improved finacial stability for organisations, by increasing capacity to raise the funds necessary to sustain and develop new interventions.
  • Improved service provider / commissioner relationships, evidenced by regular meetings and ongoing communication (see influencing local policy).

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring involvement in workforce and organisational development interventions (by keeping an up to date record of current and past activity) enables agencies to assess their capacity to meet future demand. However, evaluation and monitoring of sector development interventions has not been a substantial priority for very many agencies or individuals in the HIV sector.

Sector development interventions can be evaluated through the use of needs assessment questionnaires administered before and after a particular intervention (such as a training session or a conference).

More detailed process evaluation or end user evaluation can be undertaken using follow-up interviews undertaken some time after the intervention.

Page last updated: 5 July 2013

Case study

No Bars to Sexual Health

Trade Sexual Health and Yorkshire MESMAC were funded through CHAPS to produce a short sexual health promotion and HIV prevention film for men in prison. The film could be watched by men in their cells and viewed through the prison information channel. HMP Gartree in Leicestershire allowed access to film in the prison using prisoners, with information supported using animation, quizzes and demos. To complement the film, an information pack helps staff to support prisoners after watching the film. This resource has been requested by over 50 establishments and was recently launched through the HMP Intranet. A questionnaire for health care staff was produced to monitor uptake of sexual health services in prisons.

Case study

PlayZone in Leicester

Play Zone was a “sex on premises” project initiated n 2009 by Terrence Higgins Trust. A national code of practice for sex venues was drawn up and venues were awarded certification if they met those standards. The project required other organisations to become “codepartners” to audit the standards effectively and Trade Sexual Health approached the local GUM clinic to become their “codepartners”. This partnership resulted in the creation of a weekly testing clinic in a sauna. The clinic is jointly run by GUM and Trade and offers full sexual health screens and Hep B vaccinations, whilst Trade promotes the clinic and offers sexual health advice and referrals to other services. In 2010 the clinic was recognised by Leicester Primary Care Trust with an NHS Gem award.

Case study

Rainbow Asian Project

The Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) and Trade Sexual Health partnered to develop interventions to better meet the needs of Asian MSM. LGF and Trade engaged  Asian men through an online survey, listening to their experiences using focus groups and outreach sessions to learn about successful interventions previously provided by existing services. The project leaves three legacies; CHAPS partners will be provided with a summary of findings on targeted engagement with Asian MSM; Asian MSM involved in the project will be encouraged and supported to become volunteers for partner organisations; and statutory health agencies will have increased knowledge of the prevention needs of Asian MSM.

Case study

National groupwork coordination

GMFAs national groupwork programme delivers information based workshops to men in collaboration with CHAPS partners across England. Staff and volunteers at GMFA develop and pilot the interventions and work alongside staff and volunteers in other agencies to deliver groups. GMFA offer trained facilitators to work alongside, to train or mentor local trainers and provide additional training for specific workshops. Standards ensure that trainers meet core competencies and a central evaluation system assists in maintaining those standards and informing the development of future workshops. The CHAPS  funded programme reduces costs by centralising workshop development and by coordinating recruitment of men to groups.