Approaches to needs assessment

There are two main approaches to undertaking a needs assessment with equalities groups in your area: mainstreaming equality in your needs assessment or conducting a targeted needs assessment.

  • Mainstreaming equality in your needs assessment – this approach is appropriate if you are interested in the CLD needs of all communities in your area. It focuses on ensuring that the needs of equalities groups are taken into account when undertaking a general needs assessment.

  • Targeted needs assessment – this approach is useful if you feel that you do not know enough about the needs of all equalities groups, or a particular equality group, in terms of CLD provision. It would involve a targeted approach focusing on one or more equalities group, and assessing the needs of these communities in more detail.

Example: A targeted CLD needs assessment (Argyll and Bute)

The South Kintyre Community Learning Partnership brings together key CLD partners in this part of Argyll and Bute. The Partnership recognised that people with additional support needs were not well represented in community planning structures in the area. This included people with physical disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health difficulties and substance abuse issues. In order to find out more about the way in which people with additional support needs could become involved in community planning activity, they:

  • identified all local groups involving people with additional support needs
  • met with each group to discuss their experiences and needs
  • discussed needs with service providers working with this client group
  • evaluated existing community planning structures
  • developed options for how people with additional support needs could be more effectively involved in the future.

The Partnership considered how to take forward the options to ensure that people with additional support needs could be involved in community planning in South Kintyre.

Case study: Engaging with community health and care service users aged 60+

This action research project aims to gain an understanding of the experiences of older people in Neilston and to identify potential new volunteers in the area.

Develop your practice

Identify an equalities group you are currently working with and consider:

  • Might targeted action be an appropriate approach to ensure greater equality?
  • What would that targeted action look like?