FAQ

Some commonly asked questions about Signal and what we do.

Please contact us if you have a specific question.

frequently asked questions

Signal is the UK version of an internationally recognised methodology called Poverty Stoplight.
Poverty Stoplight (Signal in the UK) is used in many different ways around the globe. The main pathways through which the tool can contribute to poverty elimination in the UK are to

- Help households who are living in poverty to think systematically about their problems and about potential solutions by unleashing the resources that are already available within households or communities
- Connect households with organisations that are best placed to tackle specific issues highlighted by the Signal methodology
- Help households demand and access public services, be it existing or new ones

We have found that it takes between 25 and 45 minutes to complete the survey. The reason is that in most contexts the survey process is an important part of the program: it gives a framework for an in-depth, rich conversation and analysis of the situation of the individual or household. In that sense, the surveying time cannot be compared with the time it takes to do a standard survey, as part of the benefits of this method arise directly from this interactive interview process.
Signal is fully compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In essence, this means that all personal data provided is protected, can be removed at the request of the individual and will not be sold or shared with 3rd parties without the permission of the individual. At the beginning of the survey process, there is a form which explains the process to the participant, informs them about the data use and their rights, and asks for their consent. The survey process cannot start before consent is given.
Interviewers or mentors are provided with an induction workshop where they not only learn about the tool but also about the implications of touching certain subjects with individuals or households. We have, for example, developed a partnership with the Illegal Money Lending Team who can provide advice to mentors and a 24/7 hotline for individuals and households affected by loan sharks . Additionally, households always have the option to not answer a specific question or to opt out of the process altogether.
Yes, as long as our 23 core indicators are incorporated into the survey, your organisation can add, merge or remove indicators depending on what your organisation would like to measure.
SIGNAL can work for many types of organisations and has been adapted and used in a broad range of contexts, including:

  1. For companies wishing to work with their employees;
  2. Local Authorities wishing to measure the social impact of regeneration programmes
  3. Local Housing, Advice & Guidance Agencies, and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations that are engaged with, for example, long-term unemployment, community regeneration, people not in employment, education or training (NEET), well-being, poverty elimination, homelessness, the migrant community, troubled families, and other socially excluded groups.

If you are seeking a way to improve the well-being of your employees, clients or beneficiaries, and/or if you are after an intuitive, participatory assessment tool, SIGNAL can be right for you.

No organization can address all 54 indicators; that's why SIGNAL encourages an integrated community approach that allows organisations to identify existing solution providers in their area. Provide direct intervention in whatever way your organisation is an expert. For most organisations, this only covers 1-6 indicators at once.

You may also:

- Research information on how individuals can solve their poverty problems and share the relevant advice with their families;
- Use the community-level information gathered to develop alliances and partnerships on behalf of your beneficiaries - for example, we've seen organisations secure discounts with certain insurance providers for its beneficiaries.

SIGNAL has been extensively adapted for a UK context within a framework that maintains its integrity. We work with our customers to continually improve and adapt the survey for specific contexts. As long as the 23 core indicators are incorporated into the survey, your organisation can add, merge or remove indicators depending on what your organisation would like to measure. We encourage customers to use the survey with their clients for a few weeks and then review the areas that might need adapting.
Prior to our launching SIGNAL in 2017, we spent a year developing and adapting the internationally recognised Poverty Stoplight methodology for the UK. During that period, we learnt that even though the methodology takes a holistic view of a household’s circumstances, the word ‘poverty’ carried such stigma that it became a barrier to opening up meaningful conversations with beneficiaries. We, therefore, branded the UK version as SIGNAL.
SIGNAL is easy to use. It is a Web-based platform which can also be run on an Android App, so, apart from downloading the app, there is no complicated installation procedure. We provide a 2-hour onboarding workshop which is enough to get you started and we also provide easy-to-use online guides and a help desk.
It takes approximately 35 minutes to complete the survey. The reason is that in most contexts the survey process is an important part of the program: it gives a framework for an in-depth, rich conversation and analysis of the situation of the individual or household. In that sense, the surveying time cannot be compared with the time it takes to do a standard survey, as part of the benefits of this method arise directly from this interactive interview process.
Many of SIGNAL’s customers use the SIGNAL to monitor and evaluate their existing programmes. By administering the survey every 6 - 12 months, organisational leaders are able to see the "before's" and "after's" of their target population. For example, imagine an organisation that offers a year-long job-training and life-skills program. That organisation can administer the SIGNAL survey at the beginning of the programme and at the end of the programme to evaluate and communicate how effective their services are.
We would say definitely, yes! We don’t suggest that SIGNAL should replace existing methodologies but rather that it adds value to them because it is designed to enable individuals, households and organisations to better understand the root causes of issues affecting them. That said a number of organisations have dropped using the Outcomes Star having seen how dynamic the methodology is for both themselves and most importantly for their service users. We work with organisations to make sure SIGNAL is integrated with their business models so that the data it provides is useful, dynamic and facilitates conversations about planning a future which is of equal value to the service user AND the organisation.
Signal is the UK version of an internationally recognised methodology called Poverty Stoplight which operates in 24 countries around the world.
SIGNAL is part of a global movement called, internationally, Poverty Stoplight. The efficacy and the ethics of the methodology are validated by Oxford University Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
SIGNAL can be used on and off-line. Our Android App can be downloaded on to tablet and in circumstances where you have no internet connection, the survey will automatically sync with the main platform when you re-enter a wifi zone.
At the moment SIGNAL is available on Web-based facilities as well as Android.