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Early Intervention Impact in 2015-16

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Please note that this refers to impact and learning from our Partnership Awards (previously Development Awards). These differ from our Open Grant awards and seek to test new ways of working and to build evidence around what works, what doesn't work and why in areas of particular interest to us, as part of our wider Innovation and Learning approach. These awards cannot be applied for through our open application process. Instead, organisations may be invited to apply, or awards may be advertised openly for application, depending on the programme. 

Early Intervention is one of our newer portfolios and it developed as a result of our learning from funding projects that support young people leaving custody. The evaluations we commissioned provided evidence that in some cases young people’s lives could be turned around and they could have positive futures to look forward to. However, these young people still faced the stigma of having been in the criminal justice system. As a result we developed programmes which focused on more preventative rather than reactive approaches to supporting individuals and communities.

Through this theme we aim to:

  • increase understanding of the value of investing in preventative services and develop the evidence-base of the approaches that are most effective in diverting people away from negative outcomes before they occur
  • improve the ability for children and young people to achieve their full potential by supporting them to develop the skills, resilience and motivation they need to do so

What we did >

There have been two main programmes within this area. The first, Inclusion Plus, tested an approach to increase attainment and also to reduce the likelihood of vulnerable young people being excluded from schools across Dundee. The second aims to establish two Women’s Centres to help increase social inclusion for vulnerable women and girls in their community. We are continuing to develop relationships with key stakeholders as the programmes progress, for example with the Early Intervention Foundation and Education Scotland. This will enable us to share our emerging evidence more effectively as well as helping us to learn from others.

What we have learned >

We are at an early stage in the development of the Women’s Centres as neither has been established yet.

We have some early findings from the process of establishing the Women’s Centres which we will continue to test and explore as the programmes progress.

  • Community-based services should be co-designed with the community in question. This is likely to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of the services by ensuring they meet the needs and expectations of those who will be using them.
  • In order to support a co-production approach and participation from all stakeholders there needs to be clear communication of our expectations as a funder and role clarity including clarity around the responsibilities expected of each stakeholder including leadership and actions.

Case Study: Inclusion Plus

You can read the full Inclusion Plus summary report here.​

Research shows that young people excluded from school are more likely to enter the criminal justice system a finding that was backed up by the direct experience of projects we fund working in Polmont YOI. Inclusion Plus was co-designed with Dundee City Council and the three providers; Apex, Includem and Skillforce to develop a model for a school focused intervention with additional family support. The service began in October 2013 with funding from ourselves, the Big Lottery Fund and Dundee City Council. An external evaluation was produced in the summer of 2015. Inclusion Plus achieved some positive outcomes particularly for the young people directly supported by the service, but in other ways failed to live up to its potential as a co-designed Public Social Partnership.

Outcomes for beneficiaries

In the first two years of Inclusion Plus (to June 2015) 1,250 young people were supported. All four schools in which the service was provided in Dundee showed a decrease in exclusion rates with the most successful being a reduction of almost 70% and the least being 16%. However, all schools across Dundee decreased their exclusion rates which is was backed up by a recent report which stated that “Exclusions from schools in Dundee now meet the national average after being cut from the highest rate in Scotland.”


What we learnt?

Approaches that appeared to work best are those that focus on the emotional health of the pupils and in particular anger management. The pupils also reported that they benefitted from being able to talk to adults who were not teachers.

The support the service provided for young people and their families in the evenings, weekends and school holidays was also of particular value.

School-based services are unlikely to be successful and sustainable unless the services are co-designed with the school staff and the delivery organisations are recognised as providing a unique service to support pupils which cannot be provided by school staff.

Effective partnerships need time to develop their relationships to enable honest communication and to ensure that everyone is working towards a shared vision. If this does not happen the partnership may act more as individual organisations rather than as a collaborative.


What is changing as a result of our work?

Drawing on the learning from Inclusion Plus, a second phase of this project is now being developed.  Includem will provide support to pupils and their families at home, and pupil support teams will provide additional support to pupils in school, with the aim that pupils will engage better with school and therefore improve their educational attainment.  This new phase will allow processes to be refined and will also allow the project to be rolled out on a larger scale and extended to all eight secondary schools in Dundee, so that further evidence about the impact of this approach can be collected.  If the evidence shows that the project has helped to raise pupils’ attainment, it is hoped that other local authorities will consider adopting this approach.

Read the summary report for this project here.

Download our full Impact Report 2015-16 for case studies and breakdown of impact made in other themes.