Identify and understand the problem or risk
It is important not to make the mistake of rushing to a solution without accurately identifying and understanding the problem or risk you are trying to address and its causes. This step is critical to setting your project objectives, and how you will assess whether or not your project has met them. Answering the following questions is critical to your project.
What is the existing or potential crime prevention problem or risk you want to address?
What evidence is available about this problem or risk and its impact?
For example, safety audits or security assessments, information on reported or unreported incidents, surveys or community consultation, and crime statistics.
What are the causes of the problem or risk?
For example, poor design, inadequate security or lighting, or a lack of education or awareness.
Identifying the best solution to address the problem
Often there are multiple factors causing or contributing to a crime prevention issue or risk. These may require different solutions, or a combination of solutions. The following questions will help you to identify and choose the best solution for your local issue.
What do you want to achieve?
Identify the objectives for your project. These should be realistic, action-oriented (for example, ‘to reduce…’, or ‘to increase…’) and be able to be measured.
What are all the possible solutions that could help achieve your objectives?
Research potential solutions and seek input from key stakeholders, council, police or other organisations in your local area.
Once you have looked at all the possible solutions, agree as a group the most effective and achievable solution to the problem. For each solution you identify, ask the following questions:
- How will the solution make a difference to the problem?
- Who will need to be involved or consulted?
- Do you need to obtain permission, approval or a commitment from any other part of your own organisation or from another organisation, such as council or property owners, to implement the solution? For example, is a planning or building permit required?
- What resources are required? Consider cost, people and skills, time and equipment.
- Is the solution realistic and achievable?
Implementing the agreed solution
Project implementation is an area many organisations struggle with. It is common to underestimate the time and resources required to complete projects. Answering the following questions will help you to identify and manage the tasks that you will need to undertake to complete your project successfully.
What are all the potential tasks that need to be completed to implement the solution?
Tip – bring together all the key stakeholders and brainstorm all the tasks.
- Ask everyone to write down all the potential tasks that need to be considered to complete the project, using a separate post it note for each task.
- Once you have all the tasks identified, group them in to ‘like’ categories.
- Once the tasks are in groups, agree a summary heading for each group of tasks. These groups will be the key stages of your project.
- Organise all of your project stages in the order that they need to be undertaken and put the key tasks underneath each stage
How long should you allocate to complete the project?
Estimate how long each task will take to complete. Are you being realistic?
Tip – where possible, allow yourself some buffer time to complete the project to allow room for any unexpected issues.
What are the potential risks to successfully completing the project and how will you manage them?
- Is there sufficient management support within your organisation?
- Are all the key stakeholders engaged and involved?
- How will you manage any issues in relation to increases in costs or timelines?
- What is your contingency plan if any of these risks occur?
Who will lead and manage the project and who will complete the tasks?
- Agree who will be responsible for overseeing the project and ensuring all tasks are completed.
- Identify who has the skills and resources needed to complete each task and agree responsibilities.
Monitoring and evaluating the solution
It is critical you actively monitor processes, tasks and timelines to keep the project on track. Sometimes activities may not go according to plan and you may need to alter some project activities along the way. It is important to be flexible and to adapt to ensure you still deliver the project outcomes within your committed timeframes.
It is also important to evaluate your project to know whether it met its objectives.
It is essential that you consider both monitoring and evaluation from the beginning of your project.
You must ensure that you keep key partners, including funding bodies, informed about the progress of your project. This includes discussing the need to make any changes to activities or time frames.
The following questions will help you to monitor and evaluate your project. Remember to record any changes to your project plan as part of your monitoring and evaluation.
What do you need to consider in monitoring the project?
- Who will monitor progress against your project plan?
- Who do you need to consult or inform if changes to the project plan are required?
- Who do you need to keep informed of progress and how will this happen?
What questions do you need to ask to evaluate the project?
- What are your project objectives?
- How will you know whether your project has been successful in meeting its objectives?
- What information do you need to collect during the project to measure this?
- Did you follow the original project plan? If not, why?
- What did you learn in the process?
- Were all the key partners actively involved in the project?
- Who benefited from the project?
- Were there any unexpected benefits?
- Were there any unexpected problems?
- How will the benefits of the project be maintained?
- How can you share the project outcomes with the wider community?