A Case Guide defines the way in which each case outcome should be monitored and is a helpful tool for outcome monitoring. Further information about defining case outcomes can be found in the Monitoring and Evaluation section.
Regretfully, it is impossible to identify the most appropriate moment when the outcome should be registered – indeed, results arrive at arbitrary times and the timeline relies on factors that are extremely changeable. Calling clients at arbitrary moments to inquire about the outcome may pose unnecessary stress on them, and it would create expectations that are outside of your organization’s control.
As such, the outcome should be monitored when a volunteer legal advocate (VLA) leaves your organization, if it has not been completed during their stay. Alternatively, your organization may set time periods within which to monitor a case, whether or not the VLA has left.
When planning how to monitor the outcome of cases, consider the following:
What basic client information will you need?
- Think about information that you must include on forms, petitions, etc., as well as information you will need for day-to-day operations (e.g. phone numbers, addresses, email, etc.). Look at your intake forms, and any other forms that you or your clients fill out.
Can one client have more than one case? Do you need to track distinct cases in a different manner?
- For example, if John Doe has a pending Refugee Status Determination (RSD) appeal, a resettlement case, and a labor violation case, should your database report this as 3 distinct cases, or simply one client helped? What type of information do you need for each case? Will you combine your follow-up calls according to a time convenient for all cases, or will you follow a separate monitoring procedure for each case?
Can more than one legal advocate be responsible for activities for a particular client/case? If so, do you need your database to be able to record all the advocates who work on a particular case?
- If more than one advocate is working on a case, set clear responsibilities for monitoring the outcome of the case. Who should call and when? It is important to coordinate and record these duties so no case is forgotten.
Do you want your database to show how many open cases each advocate has? What other type of information do you need to record regarding your legal advocates?
- By allowing you to filter cases by open or closed, you can facilitate the monitoring of your cases. Look at all cases closed in the last month/quarter.
- You could also include a ‘monitoring date’ in your database or filing system. Searching for all the monitoring dates set for within a certain month would allow you to monitor outcomes easily.