Moving Up is a Big Lottery Fund programme which aims to support women, disabled people and people from BME communities facing barriers to entering and, particularly, progressing in work. Rocket Science conducted a mid-term case study review of the seven projects funded through Moving Up so that learning from the projects could be shared. The case studies were brought together into an overall report to the Fund, highlighting common approaches taken, common difficulties faced and innovative approaches to helping women, disabled people and people from BME communities progress in work.
Reshaping Care for Older People (RCOP) is an initiative by the Scottish Government to improve health and social care for older people, with emphasis on shifting towards early intervention and prevention models by better joint working within and across health, social care and third sectors.
Over the last 6 months Rocket Science has been helping the Argyll and Bute Reshaping Care for Older People Board understand more about how to improve their health and social care services for older people in Argyll and Bute, through three main strands:
- Mapping and evaluating Hospital to Home services across Argyll and Bute, comparing services with good practice elsewhere in Scotland and Europe and making clear recommendations for the areas that the board needs to focus on to deliver services that really make a difference to older people’s lives.
- Evaluating the local commissioning processes and making recommendations for both locality groups and the RCOP board for the changes that are required to deliver effective local commissioning.
- In-depth thematic analysis of qualitative data from a major public consultation with older people about their needs, and the extent to which the vision of the Board reflects what older people in the area want.
Client: Olympic Lottery Distributor
Rocket Science evaluated this youth project delivered by East London Business Alliance and funded by the Olympic Lottery Distributor. In the Parks aimed to increase and sustain young people’s participation in sport across the Olympic host boroughs, through a series of mass-participation sporting events for young people and their families, alongside a programme of capacity building support for local sports clubs. Using a number of online tools, focus groups, and interviews, we assessed the project’s achievements against three objectives:
- To provide an attractive package of initiatives to engage young people in sport
- To create pathways into longer-term engagement with sport
- To help sports clubs develop their capacity
The In the Parks concept complemented government policy objectives of an Olympic sporting legacy. It aimed to increase participation among young people from areas with low levels of sporting activity, through a local approach which engaged the wider community in multi-sport festivals. The focus on the host boroughs reflected the aim of their “convergence” policy – to use the Olympics and its legacy as an opportunity for East London to catch up with other parts of London in terms of key social and economic indicators. The events also tested the SPEAR Review’s recommendation that the “festival effect” could be harnessed by delivering community-based events aimed at increasing participation in sport.
Rocket Science derived a number of lessons from the In the Parks evaluation which we have brought into the design and delivery of our grant management work:
Allowing flexibility in project design
As the project developed, the format of a park-based festival was adapted to fit the needs and opportunities in the different host boroughs and their respective communities. For example, one festival was centred on local schools, rather than families. During 2012, one was held at an Olympic venue, and two were held over more than one day as part of larger Games Time events.
Tracking performance and attributing/measuring impact requires planning and resourcing
The project set a target that 5-10% of young people attending a festival would go on to take up the offer of a free session at a sports club. The data used to demonstrate the achievement of this target was not robust, largely because the tracking process for the project was not appropriate for many of the small community clubs involved, at least not without further incentives for them to take part.
Building capacity of community sports clubs takes time and commitment
The club development programme was largely based around engaging and matching City-based companies with sports clubs in the neighbouring host boroughs. The programme was well received by participating clubs, demonstrating again the value of bringing people together to network, share experiences and learn from each other. Workshops covered relevant topics, such as volunteer recruitment, fundraising and marketing. The more intensive mentoring scheme was less successful, reflecting the challenges of brokering and sustaining effective mentoring relationships and of the considerable time investment this requires of both mentees and mentors.
The Work Programme is the government’s flagship programme for helping the long-term unemployed. We were commissioned by the North East Combined Authority to look at options for future ways of delivering a successor to the Work Programme in the region. We analysed existing Work Programme provision and delivery, both nationally and in the North East by the two regional prime contractors, Avanta and Ingeus. We looked in detail at existing devolved approaches to providing employment support and made recommendations about how these could be implemented in the North East.
Client: North East Combined Authority
Team Member: Richard Scothorne, James Turner
Citizens Advice Scotland received £2.5M from the Scottish Government’s Welfare Reform Mitigation Fund (WRMF) from 2013 to 2015, to support people adversely affected by the UK Government’s programme of welfare reform. Rocket Science was commissioned to evaluate the impact of the additional welfare rights and debt advice sessions offered as a result of the WRMF. As part of this work, we interviewed 50 clients of 8 Citizens Advice Bureaux about the impact of the advice they received, as well as their general health, mental wellbeing, and followed up with a second interview two months later. Information from these interviews were used to create a social cost benefit analysis of the impact of the WRMF funding- identifying the return on investment in terms of financial gain to individuals, fiscal costs, and soft outcomes.
In October 2015, Rocket Science was commissioned by NHS Highland to undertake an evaluation of the Guided Self Help programme for common mental health problems in Argyll and Bute. In order to assess the impact of the service we currently analysing client impact data and completing a range of stakeholder interviews and surveys. Our final report and recommendations are due in late March 2016.
For more information on our work in health and social care and impact analysis call the Edinburgh Office on 0131 226 4949
Rocket Science conducted an evaluation of the Jobs for Haringey and North London Pledge, an ESF funded employment programme worth £2million. This was supplemented with a review on how the council might focus its future efforts and investment into employment initiatives in the context of the London Growth Plan, the London Enterprise Panel’s priorities for skills and employment and investment from the ESIF programme for 2014-2020.
Client: London Borough of Haringey
Team: Caroline Masundire