Problem solving checklist

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Problem Solving Checklist

The Checklist below is taken from Home Office Crime
Reduction Research Series Paper 6, Not Rocket
Science? Problem-solving and crime reduction
It is based on organisations adopting an evidence-based
approach to crime reduction which in practice can be
described as:

  • Making use of data to establish the existence and
    extent of a problem, to analyse its nature and source,
    to plan intervention methods to reduce it and to
    monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the selected
    response (whether the interventions have worked,
    whether they have produced their effects in the
    expected way, and whether there have been any significant
    (positive and negative) side effects).

  • Drawing on findings from existing research to inform
    data analysis and choice of responses

  • Applying informed lateral thought in developing
    innovative solutions

  • Using feedback in decisions to adjust, expand,
    abandon and maintain initiatives.

The checklist aims to help local problem-solvers take
a critical look at their current working practices and
identify points for improvement. It can be used by both
individual agencies and by partnerships as a way of
assessing progress towards problem-solving.

Are repeat calls for service and repeat crimes
routinely scanned?


Are efforts to identify and analyse past and
emerging problems routine?


Are simple emerging problems allocated to individuals
for their response, either on their own or in
conjunction with other agencies?


Are more complex emerging problems identified/prioritised
in routine discussion amongst partners?


Do partnerships routinely try to anticipate and
forestall future problems?


Causal analysis/Analysis


Are adequate data collection and sharing arrangements
in place to be used in problem identification
and analysis?


Are local analysts available who are familiar
with relevant theory, crime reduction literature,
and analytic techniques to identify and analyse


Do analysts have the hardware and software they
need to do their job?


Do analysts have a competent source of advice
and supervision for their analytic work?


Do analysts work in partnership with same agency
colleagues responsible for dealing with problems,
and with those in other agencies and their analysts?


Do staff in supervisory positions have training
and experience in analysis?


Tactic or treatment/Response


Do partnerships addressing agreed problems have
sources of informed advice on possible promising


Do members of partnerships have a joint budget
to implement or pump prime responses to agreed


Are members of partnerships adaptable in their
service delivery patterns where doing so may comprise
a promising response to a problem?


Do those allocated problems have sources of informed
advice on possible promising responses?


Are external sources of advice in problem-solving
being drawn on when needed?


Output monitoring/Assessment


Are all problem-solving efforts within the BCU/authority
area systematically monitored?


Are initiatives adjusted in the light of monitoring?


Is an evaluation strategy in place?


Are reputable independent evaluators used where
significant resource allocation decisions turn
on evaluation findings?


Is care taken not to give unqualified support
to extending initiatives that have not been subject
to independent competent evaluation?


Are provisions in place to conduct �light� in-house
or student evaluations where only suggestive findings
are needed?




Do members of partnerships encourage their staff
routinely to participate in problem-solving?


Are individuals allocated problems given training
in their analysis and in forms of response?


Are individuals allocated problems given reasonable
time to address them?


Are specialist skills being drawn on and used
in problem-solving?


Does the partnership provide a forum for mutual
leverage in problem-solving?


Does the partnership have agreed ways of applying
leverage where necessary to third parties in implementing
responses to problems?


Is the work of the partnership monitored regularly
and members held to account for their problem-solving?


Are individual agencies being performance measured
for their local problem-solving work as well as
their attention to national priorities?


Do supervisors help subordinates with problem-solving
and monitor their problem-solving work?


Are staff oriented to problem-solving, with selection,
training and rewards to encourage and enable them?


Do senior members of agencies know of and understand
the problems being addressed?


Problem-communication to and from other levels


Is day to day problem-solving monitored and are
efforts made to identify broader problems?


Are problems identified within the area that
may reflect broader problems passed �up� for analysis
and attention at �higher� levels?


Acknowledgement and further information

This checklist has been taken from page 36 of the report:

Not Rocket Science? Problem-solving and crime reduction,
Tim Read and Nick Tilley, Home Office Crime Reduction
Research Series Paper 6, published 2000.
A full version of the report is available at
PDF 184


Date added: 17 January 2002
Review date: July 2002
Originator: Crime Reduction College Information Team

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