How can legal assistance and justice system services efficiently and reliably capture the experience of their clients to inform more effective and people-centred service provision?
Qualitative methods generally involve in-depth interviews with, or feedback from, a small group of clients. They allow exploration of the expectations that individual clients bring and their personal experience of the service they receive. Examples of qualitative methods are: client feedback, client focus groups, and client case studies.
Quantitative methods allow conclusions to be drawn about representative groups of clients, which is valuable for tracking client experience over time, or between providers. These methods can also support more sophisticated analysis of the drivers of client experience and allow for differences in the mix of clients' legal problems to be taken into account. Examples of quantitative methods are: clients surveys and client pathways in service data.
It is good practice to ensure that all clients are given the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience. Feedback should be voluntary, and ideally have the option of anonymity. Unlike a quantitative client survey with a push request to a pre-selected sample, clients proactively providing feedback will not represent the views of all clients. Instead, this type of feedback is more likely to identify the more extreme experiences: when things went particularly well or badly from the client's perspective.
Client Focus groups
Focus groups can be an effective method of obtaining thoughtful input and ideas for innovation, with focus group participation sparking memories and responses to each other’s ideas. Focus groups are generally made up of between 4 and 10 clients, with a further person facilitating the discussion and another taking notes. The clients should be drawn from one type of service so they are discussing the same provision, but be sufficiently diverse to represent a range of experiences.
Client Case Studies
Distinct from service model case studies, are individual client case studies. These types of case study provide insights into:
They are therefore particularly useful for media and advocacy related work.
See our Top tips for writing great service model case studies.