Improving Public Services case studies

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The Scottish Approach to employability support – our analysis of the Scottish Government public consultation

The Scottish Approach to employability support – our analysis of the Scottish Government public consultation

The Scottish Government has received devolved responsibility from Westminster for designing and delivering employability services that will succeed the current Work Programme and Work Choice support. This presents an opportunity to design a distinctly Scottish Approach to employability support. As part of this, the Scottish Government ran a public consultation in 2015 to seek public views on what a ‘Scottish Approach’ should look like and how the replacement support should fit into this. Rocket Science was commissioned to analyse the responses.

215 individuals, service providers, and advocacy and support organisations responded. Following a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis we identified six key messages running through the consultation responses:

That the Scottish Approach to employability support should:

  • Have a person centred, flexible and tailored approach that considers all elements of an individual’s life that affects their employability
  • Be designed and delivered by a partnership of organisation such as central and local government, third sector, and educators
  • Focus on ‘real jobs’ through engaging with employers and creating high quality labour market intelligence, so job seekers are prepared for and directed towards jobs that exist.

That any devolved replacement programme should:

  • Be designed nationally but adapted to the local context and delivered locally
  • Involve contracts that use a combination of payment by job outcome, progression towards work, attachment fees, and should incorporate client feedback as a metric for payment
  • Target those with the highest needs, and focus a separate programme on this group to avoid them getting lost in the crowd.

The full analysis report can be found at:—employability-support—analysis-of-responses.pdf

By Clare Hammond

Clare is a Senior Consultant at Rocket Science. With a background in economics and public policy, Clare came to us from the New Zealand Treasury where she had exposure to the development and implementation of the ‘Investment Approach to Welfare’ which was spearheaded by a joint working group from the Treasury and the Ministry for Social Development.

For more information contact Clare on 0131 226 4949

Innovating childcare provision

Innovating childcare provision

Innovating childcare through aytpical provision.

Rocket Science were asked by the London Borough of Brent to identify models for childcare in the borough and their potential for development into a social enterprise.

Following an initial scoping of the market and opportunities, we agreed to research the market demands for provision of atypical childcare provision for lone parents moving onto Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in the London Borough of Brent. Our rationale for this focus was that access to employment for long term unemployed parents was being hindered by inaccessible childcare and that following welfare reform changes, parents entering the labour market were being directed into NMW entry-level jobs which often required shift work and did not reflect school hours.  We worked closely with the children’s team and through our detailed assessment of estate tenancies and family make up matched against labour market trends, we were able to make the case that action needed to be taken.

Following research with parents, Jobcentre Plus and other stakeholders we presented a series of options for the council to adopt and latterly with the council developed an innovative, feasible and sustainable business model, funded through local partners, that provided extended wraparound childcare (6.30 – 9 am and between 5 and 9 pm) targeted at residents across three estates. It built in opportunities around volunteering and training. We modelled the business plan and developed assumptions around staffing, costs and payments, working on achieving sustainability in Year 3.

For more information contact Caroline

Cost benefit analysis for NEET prevention programmes

Cost benefit analysis for NEET prevention programmes

Cost benefit analysis of NEET early intervention programmes – West London Alliance

Rocket Science has been working on the Youth Strand of the West London Alliance’s 6–borough “Whole Place Community Budget” pilot.  We conducted a ‘deep dive’ review into the provision and support for 16-18 year olds in West London, the barriers and challenges, what works and the implications for programmes to reflect requirements for Raising Participation Age.  Our research led us to a new model of early intervention developed by Impetus PEF (“Think Forward”) designed on an “invest to save” basis to prevent young people becoming NEET by offering those identified as most at risk a dedicated life coach.   A 2-year pilot of 5 coaches in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets had enjoyed a 98% success rate – only 6 of 320 teenagers referred to the programme did not progress into post-16 learning or work. Tower Hamlets was nevertheless unable to continue the model owing to budget constraints.

The Private Equity Foundation (PEF) was at the time looking to scale up a programme to reduce NEETs, and to fund Think Forward through a Social Impact Bond.  Rocket Science worked with Impetus PEF and the West London partners to identify ways to replicate the Think Forward model in the context of Whole Place Community Budgeting.  In making the business case for a new preventative approach to tackling NEETs, Rocket Science consultants were trained in how to use the New Economy Manchester Cost Benefit Analysis toolkit which enabled us to quantify the anticipated cashable savings over 5-10 year of more effective early intervention with young people showing a clutch of RONIs (Risk Of NEET Indicators) in years 6 and 7.

We assessed the potential impact of a proposed West London pre-NEET 14-16 intervention. This involved 100 young people selected as being at risk of NEET supported by a dedicated coach for the duration of the programme (up to 5 years). The aim of the £450,000 intervention is to reduce the numbers of NEETs in the target area/group of schools by 50%.  We estimated, from previous pilots, that the outcomes would be:

  • Reduction in numbers moving onto JSA at 18 – 55%
  • Reduction in people claiming ESA/IB by 50%
  • Reduction in numbers claiming LPIS by 60%
  • Increase in level 2 qualification by 60%
  • Increase in level 3 qualification by 40%
  • Reduction in mental health interventions by 20%
  • Reduction in ASB committed by the cohort by 25%
  • Reduction in all crimes committed by the cohort by 25%
  • Reduction in safeguarding by 20%
  • Reduction in drug and alcohol abuse by 25%
  • Improvements in individual family and community well-being by 40%
  • Using the New Economy Manchester Cost Benefit Analysis toolkit we assigned monetary values to outcomes finding that the cost benefit overall was:
  • A fiscal benefit cost Ratio of 1.64 (£745,000 in benefits)
  • A economic benefit cost ratio of 0.83 (£380,000 in benefits)
  • A social benefit ratio of 1.86 (£848,000 in benefits)

The fiscal and social benefits indicators are positive over a five year payback period. The economic benefits are lower owing to the age of the young people involved and the fact that they are not in the work place for several years of the proposed CBA timeframe.


Contact John for more information

Early intervention review

Early intervention review

Reviewing early intervention and service effectiveness – City of London

Rocket Science was selected to research alternatives to the City of London’s commissioning of early intervention services for residents.  The pilot focused on the Portsoken ward (dominated by 2 housing estates) and was intended to inform the Corporation’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy in preparation for their new role in public health. It was also intended to identify ways in which services could be better coordinated and avoid duplication, through person-centred commissioning.

An initial phase involved extensive mapping of and consultation with key stakeholders, from both within and outside the City, to inform our approach for gathering spend and use data.  We conducted an extensive desk review of existing public data on the ward, which was updated periodically to reflect new Census data as this became available.  NOMIS data was used to analyse deprivation, and how the ward compared to the City, London and UK.  Analysis of tenancies showed that the population has remained quite static, in part a consequence of the high level of services provided by the City, but also a reflection of strong cultural ties as residents chose not to move despite highly overcrowded housing conditions.  Indicators of health and economic wellbeing were at best static or in decline and, in spite of recent investments in public services in the area, the anticipated improvements to the area were not being realised.

Our research was corroborated by the experiences of residents and users of a range of services, drawn from a series of interviews, mini-focus groups and a survey of providers.  Whilst some services were highly valued, they were poorly coordinated and suffered because of low public awareness and insufficient promotion.   We presented the findings to both members and stakeholders and ran a consultation process from January through March 2013 in order to co-design recommendations in the light of a number of key policy changes.  These included on-going welfare reform – residents were perceived as at risk through digital exclusion, language barriers and the inaccessibility of better paid employment, and consequently the ward continued to have high levels of ‘working poor’; the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 – what added value could be provided through better procurement, and the Localism Act 2011 – how could community empowerment reduce local dependency on public services?

The recommendations from the review which focused on improved asset management and developing community capacity have been adopted in full.  Key to the future of the ward is the development of a residents’ and providers’ forum which will become central to the design and commissioning of services.  A capacity building programme has been put in place over the next 12 months and an innovative community currency, Time Credits, to transform community engagement from passivity to pro-activity in the design and receipt of services.

“The Portsoken All Ages Early Intervention Review has a compelling vision for the future delivery of services in the area and some very positive recommendations about using our assets more effectively and delivering better health, welfare and employability services.” Neal Hounsell – Assistant Director Commissioning and Partnership.

For more information contact Caroline

Building Social Value

Building Social Value

From best value to social value

Rocket Science produced a report on how public bodies could meet the objectives of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.  This was the culmination of an intensive consultation process with procurement leads in public bodies, voluntary and community and social enterprises and policy makers.

The report identified the challenges and made recommendations for getting the most out of this important legislation, which are just as valid today as they were a couple of years ago.

Read our report here

From Best Value to Social Value – building social value into procurement – Rocket Science report July 2012

Contact John for more information