An independent evaluation of Scotland’s first SNAP was commissioned in March 2017, building on qualitative interviews evaluating SNAP that were conducted from 2014 onwards, as well as documentary analysis. The evaluation was carried out by Dr Jo Ferrie of the University of Glasgow.
Read the full SNAP 1 evaluation report.
Important learning from this evaluation for SNAP in the future includes:
Build on the existing SNAP evidence base
The evaluation recognised that the evidence base for SNAP was very strong and robust. In developing SNAP, it has been (and will continue to be) important to keep that evidence base up-to-date, reflective of people’s lived experiences, and relevant to new and emerging rights issues as they come along. The evidence base provides an important anchor for planning and prioritising actions but will require dedicated resources to ensure it continues to be comprehensive and robust.
Improve and provide resources to support the participation of rights holders and civil society organisations
While SNAP was commended for its multi-stakeholder approach, the evaluation highlighted the need for rights holders to be much more fully involved and supported to take part in SNAP planning, decision-making, delivery of actions, monitoring and evaluation. Some progress was made towards this in some elements of SNAP but this needs continued attention and resourcing. Similarly, civil society groups have been hugely supportive of SNAP and have shown a great appetite for engaging with its work; however, the evaluation highlighted the very real funding and resourcing challenges they face in Scotland, and the need for this to be addressed in terms of supporting their future engagement.
Address the issue of the Scottish Human Rights Commission’s role and investment of resources
The Commission initiated, facilitated and coordinated SNAP and has invested the largest volume of resource to SNAP since 2013, both in cash and via in kind staff time. The evaluation discusses the challenges arising from the fact that this was never intended to be a long-term role for the Commission and that its own resource base is simply insufficient to provide SNAP with the level of support it needs to be successful in the long-term. A more sustainable resourcing solution is needed for SNAP in the future.
Foster commitment from those with human rights duties
The evaluation also discusses the commitment to SNAP from duty-bearers (those with obligations under human rights law). The evaluation found that levels of commitment were variable and that there is a tension between duty bearers collaborating on actions, while simultaneously being held to account through other actions. There is a recommendation that commitment from duty bearers needs to be more explicit in the future, and that expectations need to be clearer.
Ensure actions are clear, specific, measurable and have buy-in
When it comes to the ‘action’ part of an action plan, the evaluation recognised that SNAP contained few specific, measurable, time-bound actions at the outset in 2013. Actions were developed in detail during the first 18-24 months of SNAP; however, this meant that some areas of action were more difficult to get off the ground than others. For SNAP development, this has been a key area of focus and the current longlist of draft actions represents a step-change compared to this stage of development in SNAP’s first cycle. The role of a multi-stakeholder SNAP Leadership Panel is crucial to refining and agreeing the final set of SNAP actions.
Temper ambition with realism about practical ability to deliver
The evaluation also recognised that SNAP was a very ambitious roadmap for change but that there was a gap between that ambition and the practical ability of organisations involved to deliver impact. In further developing SNAP, the challenge has been to retain an ambitious sense of what could be, but to match it with a practical, realistic plan. Further work is required by a SNAP Leadership Panel to prioritise the longlisted actions to reflect this.
Develop a monitoring framework at the outset
Related to previous points, there is also an important lesson around embedding monitoring into action planning at the outset. Significant work was done in the first SNAP to develop and articulate long-term outcomes, align these to wider frameworks including the SDGs and the NPF, and to begin to develop indicators. This has been used to guide the development of SNAP, with further work done to develop medium term indicators, which means that there is now a draft monitoring framework in place for SNAP.
Ensure adequate resources from the state for infrastructure and actions
A key lesson from the evaluation was that SNAP was under-resourced by the state relative to national human rights action plans in other countries around the world. The evaluation recognised the costs associated with supporting action delivery structures, governance structures and the participation of rights holders and civil society in collaborative processes like SNAP. Without this supporting infrastructure, it is challenging to mobilise other resources to take forward actions.
Continue to use communications for transparency and accountability
The independent evaluation commended SNAP for its efforts to be transparent and accountable in its approach to monitoring and review, including through communications outputs such as Annual Reports, case studies, films and animations. This aided external parties to access and engage with SNAP, including the Scottish Parliament. It is recommended that SNAP continues to build on this approach, and that it also allows for further independent evaluation in due course.