Blog: A working Theory of Change – lessons learnt from our work with the Bristol Sexual Violence Support Consortium

Tuesday, 3 April, 2018
Blog written by Jennifer McMahon, Consortium Innovations Manager (Bristol Sexual Violence Services Consortium) at Voscur.  
As part of our commitment to actively supporting collaborative working in our sector, Voscur hosts the innovations project for the Bristol Sexual Violence Consortium, grant-funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales. As Consortium Innovation Manager, I work with the Bristol Sexual Violence Services Consortium to develop collaborative working and useful tools that can be shared with the wider sector.
One incredibly useful tool for bringing a practical focus to your work and to drive it forwards is the development of a Theory of Change. Our Consortium recently workshopped and agreed our Theory of Change in a great session, full of enthusiasm and excitement. This session focussed on what the Consortium wanted to achieve in this 2-year project, understanding that clear objectives lead to greater impact down the line. The Consortium are now clear about their objectives and committed to using their combined resources more effectively to provide the most appropriate support for survivors depending on their needs at that time.
Below is an illustration of the Consortium’s Theory of Change, which outlines their work in the innovations project and the impact they intend to make:
The approach that we took to develop this Theory of Change was guided by training and support we received from DMSS. DMSS undertakes research, evaluation, policy analysis and training in the social care sector.
DMSS’ approach encouraged us to integrate evaluation into our project planning, which will enable us to measure and evidence our outcomes and impact throughout the life of the project. As well as consultancy support, there are a range of resources on the DMSS website, including a practical guide to project planning and evaluation. 
Other useful resources include the Knowhow Non-profit How-To guide to building a theory of change. This basic guide outlines how to develop a theory of change with expected short, medium and long term outcomes for the project.
Voscur will regularly share updates on the Consortium’s progress and the useful tools and resources that are developed. These will help to support consortium development, and overcome challenges in collaborative working, in the wider sector.
If you have any questions about my work with the Bristol Sexual Violence Consortium, or Voscur’s wider work with the local voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, you an email me at, or drop our office a line on 0117 909 949.
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