How to improve Breed health

OverviewLeadership & HealthCommunication & EngagementParticipation

How to Implement The Karlton IndexImproving breed health using the Karlton Index framework

The framework is designed to give breed communities a structure to help organise your health activities. The scoring (out of 100) gives you a clear sense of what you are doing well and also pinpoints the areas you could focus on next, to ensure you keep moving in a positive direction.

First, find your current position on the Index by noting the score allocated to your breed for each section in the current report (click here to view the 2013 report) and then click on the Tabs, above,  to find the corresponding sections, together with some pointers towards next steps.

NB: The Kennel Club provides a wealth of support material to help you at every stage in the process, go to http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/

IMPACT: This section of The Karlton Index has been reviewed and for 2016, differs from previous versions.  Guidance for this will be updated once the scores have been collated and we can assess the implications for the trends we find.

This section is 20% of the total points

KI score 5 and under

What does it mean

Scoring in this bracket for leadership means that your breed is at the initial stage of developing a health agenda.

The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to you to help ensure your health plans take root; in particular from the Kennel Club www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/

The Leadership section of the framework is the foundation for all other sections. It is worth investing effort into this area before tackling other issues.

Actions to consider

  • Establish a team of committed breed enthusiasts to support you Breed Health Co-ordinator.
  • Speak to the Health Team at the Kennel Club to find out what has already been done to support your breed.
  • Work through the http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/97934/bhcbreedhealthimpstrat.pdf with your breed enthusiasts to draw up a short list of key actions.
  • Speak to people involved in other breeds who have scored 12 or above for this section, as they are already further along in developing a health strategy and will be able to give you great ideas and advice.
  • Carry out a self-assessment of your breed using the KI Framework.
KI score 6-11

What does it mean

Scoring in the region of 6 – 11 means that your breed has put some important building blocks in place on which to develop a health strategy and set health priorities. It could be that all you need is more time to gather data, conduct surveys, analyse the findings etc

Actions to consider

Getting more detailed feedback from the Karlton Index is a good next step for breeds in this position, and for breeds in this bracket we will happily do that free of charge. That will give you a clear steer as to how to consolidate your efforts to date.

Reference the Kennel Club’s Breed Health strategy guide http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/97934/bhcbreedhealthimpstrat.pdf, pages 9 – 16.

Speak to people involved in other breeds who have scored 12 or above for this section, as they are already further along in developing a health strategy and will be able to give you great ideas and advice.

KI score 12 and above

What does it mean

Scoring above 12 means that your approach to leadership and setting health priorities is advanced.

Actions to consider

Benchmark what you are doing with those breeds that have scored higher, or look internationally for good practice in your breed but in different cultural contexts.

Also consider how you are going to maintain momentum over time and through change, for instance changes in personnel, or changes in breed popularity etc.

This section is 20% of the total points

KI score 5 and under

What does it mean

Scoring in this bracket for communication and engagement, means that your breed has taken some initial steps in publicising the health agenda.

Actions to consider

Your first consideration should be to reflect on your Leadership score. Ask yourself some important questions:

  • Is there a leadership team in place with responsibility for publicising the health agenda?
  • What support is in place for the Breed Health Co-ordinator?
  • What sources of health data are you suing to help inform your current health agenda?

Each step you take under Leadership will give you something meaningful to communicate.

Again there are excellent resources freely available to help you with this from the Kennel Club. See http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/97934/bhcbreedhealthimpstrat.pdf, pages 17 – 20.

KI score 6-11

What does it mean

Scoring in the region of 6- 11, means that your breed is communicating some important health messages that will benefit the dogs.

From this sound basis you can begin to get those messages farther and wider.

Actions to consider

It is likely that the steps you should take from this point depend very much on the context for your particular breed, so the best next steps would include:

  • Ensuring you get more detailed feedback from us on what we found when assessing your activities on health.
  • Seeking out support from breeds that have scored 12 or more on this section of the Index.

Use the guidance in http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/97934/bhcbreedhealthimpstrat.pdf, published by the Kennel club, pages 17 – 20, to do a self-assessment of your current practice against the raft of ideas suggested there.

KI score 12 and above

What does it mean

Scoring 12 or above, means that you are getting your health messages across to many people, and you are making good use of a variety of communication channels.

Actions to consider

  • Review all your current channels of communication to check that you are not missing out on some of the many methods available through social media for instance.
  • Review your communications to ensure the content is as up to date as it can be.
  • Think about ways to make your communication and engagement two-way.
  • Benchmark what you are doing against breeds that scored more, or if you are already a top scorer volunteer your expertise to breeds who are less advanced in this area…..nothing helps you master a subject quicker than offering to coach or teach it to someone else.

This section is 20% of the total points

KI score 5 and under

What does it mean

Scoring in this bracket for participation could mean one of two things:

  1. If you scored well for the previous two sections but below five for this, you probably simply need more time to allow your health initiatives to take root.  Calls to action, in the context of breed health, have to be made with patience because you must reach a wide and often disparate group of people, over whom you have little authority.
  2. Or it could be that you have plenty of breeders participating in schemes and with the health agenda but have not published data or information regarding those levels of engagement.

Actions to consider

If your scores for the previous two sections were also in this bracket, you should focus first on steps under Leadership. It is too soon to expect your efforts in that area to have translated into anything meaningful under this heading.

Attaining momentum under the Leadership section and setting the health agenda should be your priority.

If you scored well in the previous two sections, it could be that you just need more time for the health initiatives to get going. Set realistic timeframes for action.

There are plenty of wise tips and suggestions in the Kennel Club’s Breed Health Improvement Strategy, see page 21 at http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/97934/bhcbreedhealthimpstrat.pdf

KI score 6-11

What does it mean

Scoring between 6 and 11, means that your health initiatives are benefitting from wider participation beyond your first few early adopters.

This is a great position to be in because it means that with a little more encouragement, a little more recognition, you may soon be getting the critical mass needed to achieve many if not all  your health objectives.

Actions to consider

There are excellent resources to help you improve participation with your health agenda published by the Kennel Club. See http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/97934/bhcbreedhealthimpstrat.pdf, pages 22 and 23 in particular.

Also consider working with a breed that is further along the health journey and has broken through some of the barriers to wide participation. They will be only too happy to share with you their experiences.

KI score 12 and above

What does it mean

Scoring 12 and above, means that you are achieving critical mass levels of participation in some or all of your current health initiatives. This demonstrates a substantial commitment to breed health from a broad group of people in the breed.

Actions to consider

The first action for breeds scoring in this bracket, is to acknowledge your achievements in getting this far with breed health. Clearly a great deal has already been invested, and a lot of hard work already done.

The challenge for you will be in how to keep the sense of urgency fresh. Sometimes, breed health being what it is, results even from wide participation in health initiatives can take longer to come through than hoped. Sometimes the results of well-intended health schemes don’t produce what you’d hoped for, so you may well have to keep reminding people that this journey is worth it no matter how long it may be taking.

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