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Title: Models of evaluation of equal opportunities training in local government with special reference to women.
Author: Dawson, Ruth Phillippa.
Awarding Body: South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 1993
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Although equal opportunities training with regard to women was well known to exist in London local authorities, the evaluation methods used, their range and good practices were virtually unknown and so training had given birth to expectations whose results were unexplored. A study was carried out to examine the range and type of such training and evaluation. A postal questionnaire was sent to central trainers in all London Boroughs. The training available varied but every borough in the study ran courses on recruitment and selection and most ran assertion courses. A series of research questions were generated on the evaluation practices of trainers in central training departments and the organisation's knowledge and use of this evaluation. A further study with trainers, using in-depth interviews followed, in selected boroughs, to discover more about the models of evaluation in use; in particular it was hoped to find models that worked well. The study was done in the context of increasing central government restraints on spending and the introduction of competitive tendering and service agreements. This had the potential effect of changing the impetus for evaluation from a personal, professional requirement, to the need to evaluate in order to market services more effectively. Some research expectations were not met: the evaluation models used were minimal in both number and scope; they were mostly limited to the process of training and not to the outcome. Thorough evaluation means regular, systematic formative evaluation with less frequent summative evaluation. The findings suggest reasons why thorough evaluation was not made. 1) There was no requirement to evaluate and to report these findings to senior managers. 2) Trainers showed traditional bureaucratic behaviour and were peripheral to local authority programmes. 3) There were the historically entrenched views of professionals knowing best and being delegated responsibility without reckoning. 4) There was a fear that evaluation might undermine professional credibility and thus jeopardize jobs. Some trainers felt uneasy evaluating senior managers. 5) A lack of interest and knowledge of evaluation techniques was evident, as was a lack of experience in evaluating equal opportunities measures 6) There was a failure to perceive the possibilities of evaluation in reinforcing the position of trainers. 7) It was not realised that equal opportunities requires high level organisational learning. 8) Problems were perceived due to the difficulties of evaluating incomplete learning circles. 9) There was a reduction in the political urgency. 10) Local authorities may not have taken equal opportunities seriously and undermined the initiatives because of entrenched class loyalties, emitting covert signals not to evaluate training outcomes or compare them with other measures for effectiveness. A typology of trainers was developed from the study and consisted of Ritualists, Pilot Strategists, Incrementalists, Innovators and Policy Achievers. Formative evaluation was seen as a particularly suitable approach to implement the high level learning required in equal opportunities training. There were signs that attitudes to evaluation were beginning to change and for it to be seen as a useful weapon for survival for central training units. Equal opportunities for women was becoming more of a mainstream concern: policy and implementation deserve regular evaluation so that the most effective and efficient means of achieving equal opportunities for everyone are employed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Management & business studies Management Sociology Human services Education