5Is for practitioners
The 5Is tasks aim to combine evidence and experience – covering the crime problem, the context, what works and how to realise it. In functional terms, and at the operational level, 5Is aims to help practitioners to:
• Identify and clarify the crime and community safety problem/s, causes or risk factors they seek to tackle. ‘Problem’ is used here inclusively, covering not just the conventional POP definition centring on criminal events, but also for example the problem posed to a locality by a particular set of offenders with particular criminal careers and predispositions – that is, the potential to generate criminal events.
• Search and select, from the body of existing knowledge and experience, good practice appropriate to the problem, context, causes or risk factors, and their own resources and circumstances.
• Replicate the preventive action customised to their own problem, causes or risk factors and context.
• Innovate intelligently, given the many problems and contexts where no well-documented and well-evaluated good practice examples yet exist.
5Is for programme delivery managers
Programme delivery managers, charged with converting policy into practice, aim to assure and improve the performance of the practitioners and practice organisations within their purview. They may also seek to extend that practice to cover more of the same crime problems in new contexts, and broaden its scope to tackle new kinds of problem. To these ends they may supply funds, guidance and other resources, set targets and standards, and monitor processes, outputs and outcomes. They will especially focus on building the operational and innovative capacities of their practitioners, whether as individuals, teams or organisational units like youth centres or local community safety departments.
Expressed in these functional delivery-level terms, the 5Is framework is primarily intended for capturing, assessing, consolidating and transferring knowledge of good practice among practitioners. However, each 5Is description of a project can lead seamlessly from an account of ‘what the action was’, and ‘whether well or badly performed’, to a structured and systematic account of ‘the organisational and infrastructural reasons why the particular action was taken and why it was well or badly performed’. These latter factors are the responsibility of delivery managers to exploit and promulgate, or to remedy, as appropriate, whether by local action or by referral upwards to top-level programme managers. Process models and material expressly for the purpose of guidance of delivery can incorporate the delivery-level knowledge captured by 5Is.
5Is for policymakers
Ministers or administrators obviously wish delivery managers and practitioners alike to successfully implement their policies. There should thus be an unbroken thread of logic, theory and evidence connecting the three levels of activity. Policymakers in particular will want to know broadly what works, what problems and contexts the action can cover, and what other policy areas it will support, synergise with or antagonise (and what undesired side-effects it may generate). They will also want to know what policies and strategies are deliverable. Existing approaches have failed to support this upward flow of information.
Expressed in these terms, the 5Is framework is intended to help assemble and organise the body of knowledge connecting policy to practice via delivery, and to help policymakers select and design policies capable of being delivered at acceptable cost, timescale and risk.
5Is for researchers
Practice-oriented researchers will be interested in 5Is in its own right as a process model for crime prevention. 5Is project descriptions are likely to provide a richer and more systematic and consistent set of data for the study of how prevention works on the ground. But to go further, experience in the CCTV evaluations led by Martin Gill (see case studies here) showed how 5Is could be used as a kind of template for process evaluation.
5Is of course provides a ‘home’ for Impact evaluation findings. But its emphasis throughout on causal mechanisms and the importance of context in co-determining criminal events and in influencing the success or failure of interventions, means that it is ready-made for facilitating impact (or outcome) evaluations adopting Scientific Realist or Theories of Change approaches.
5Is for teachers/trainers
Since 5Is provides a ready-made, organised schema for the totality of knowledge and know-how of crime prevention, it is eminently suitable as a basis for education and training. Griffith University, Brisbane has had recent successful experience of using it in this way.
Plans are afoot to develop an online suite comprising interactive tutorial, toolkits and knowledge bank based on 5Is. If you are interested in getting involved contact Paul Ekblom