15: Knowing ourselves: self-evaluation

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Self-evaluation is founded on the principle that we want to characterise our work by the quality of what we do and that self-evaluation helps us to know whether this quality is, indeed, present. It is also important for keeping ourselves on track and avoiding getting lost in the paperwork of every day, at the expense of what we should be doing as our main professional purpose. It is a process of checking our quality and purpose, and leads to identifying outcomes for our community work so that we can then evaluate it. In this chapter we focus on a systematic framework for self-evaluation that builds a baseline for reflection. This kind of framework may not exist where you work, but the principles still apply. A framework for self-evaluation provides a safety net that prevents us from falling into self-delusion. It allows us to stop and check what we do and ensure good, effective work. The backbone of effective self-evaluation is the morale of staff; it depends on morale and, indeed, increases morale. This morale increase is a product of the awareness of the community worker of what exactly is working and what can be done to improve practice. It is an affirmation of their practice. A system of self-evaluation is very important for providing consistency and checks and balances about what is being done in professional practice, and a framework for self-evaluation in a team or across a profession can provide consistency of language and a common agreed purpose for the work.

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