Describe your best practice
Cheshire Neighbourhood Watch Association (CNWA) undertook a survey of all coordinators in Cheshire with the goal to better understand what communication channels are preferred, what information coordinators and their members wish to receive, and to listen to feedback and views about anything related to Neighbourhood Watch. The initial results are described in this best practice summary, and the methodology and survey questions are available to other force associations if required.

What did you do and why?
The CNWA Committee conceived of a survey of coordinators as a tool to further our strategic goals to support coordinators and encourage the growth of, and number of schemes across Cheshire. After discussion and iteration in a working session, we compiled a survey of 16 questions, comprising some multi-choice questions and some open questions with opportunities for free text comments. The purpose was to gather some quantitative data as a baseline to measure improvement, and to receive qualitative information; all enabling CNWA to support coordinators more effectively. The survey was compiled using Survey Monkey and emailed to our database of coordinators via the Neighbourhood Alert system. We emphasised that the survey was ‘short’ and that feedback would be appreciated, and we gave a deadline for responses. The survey responses have been analysed and we are currently supporting coordinators based on the feedback and findings.

Duration of the project
Two months

What worked well?
We had an immediate strong response to the survey with 193 completed surveys received within 72 hours. After a reminder a few days before the deadline an excellent overall response rate of 19.7% was achieved. This provided sufficient data to have confidence in the results and to plan suitable support interventions. Many coordinators expressed satisfaction with how their schemes were running. Additionally, 169 coordinators took the time to provide individual free text responses. Initial review suggests that these fall into several categories that can be addressed by provision of materials, refresher training on Alert, and closer engagement with PCSOs. The results of the survey have been embraced by our operational colleagues in Cheshire Police, enabling us to plan follow up work together based on evidence. The priority is communication with PCSOs. As the survey was completed in April 2019, final outcomes from follow up actions are not available yet.

How did you overcome any challenges?
The project required significant volunteer effort from CNWA and close working with our SPOC at Cheshire Police to deliver. However, this support was in place and we did not encounter significant challenges during the project. The initial response rate was enhanced by sending a reminder message to coordinators via Neighbourhood Alert a few days before the survey was due to close. Whilst the design of the survey facilitated ready analysis and presentation of results from quantitative questions, the compilation of qualitative data from the open questions allowing free text responses was more complex and time consuming, especially due to the large number of coodinators who didn’t skip these questions. The CNWA Committee was aware of this potential scenario before the survey was launched but we strongly wished to allow open feedback on order to listen effectively to coordinators and respond appropriately.

How did you cover any costs?
The survey did not require any formal funding but a significant number of hours of volunteer time were required to complete the project, together with support from the Engagement Officer (also our Single Point of Contact) at Cheshire Police. The CNWA Committee was involved in setting the objectives for and design of the survey, and iteration of the questionnaire. A Police Support Volunteer (PSV) in the CNWA working with our SPOC at Cheshire Police delivered the project by compiling the questions using the Force’s premium Survey Monkey account. The survey was sent to all coordinators in the Neighbourhood Alert database for Cheshire via an Alert email. After the deadline, the analysis and collation of results was also carried out by the PSV and SPOC working together.

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