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The Future of the Work Programme in the North East

The Future of the Work Programme in the North East

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

Rural Enterprise Hub

Rural Enterprise Hub

Rocket Science conducted a feasibility study for East Durham College looking at the options for establishing a rural enterprise hub at their Houghall Campus near to Durham City.  The proposed hub would provide support both to rurally-based businesses in Houghall’s catchment area and to students wishing to develop business ideas.  We conducted analysis of labour market information and consulted with North East business support services, current students and other key stakeholders to produce a detailed feasibility study.

Client: East Durham College

Team Member: James Turner


All-Age Early Intervention Review, Portsoken Ward, City of London

All-Age Early Intervention Review, Portsoken Ward, City of London

The Portsoken review was undertaken to inform how the City can more effectively manage rising demands for services at a time of increased pressures on public sector spending. This has resulted in more collaborative working by local service providers, in response to resident-set priorities, under a “One Portsoken” umbrella. Rocket Science have been engaged to support the establishment of a ‘One Portsoken Forum’ to help design services and provide capacity building for the area’s communities.

Client: City of London Corporation

Team: Caroline Masundire

Village SOS

Village SOS

How Village SOS can help your community project

Village SOS is a campaign that aims to inspire local community action, through supporting new, developing and existing community projects that benefit residents in rural communities throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Peer support from a Mentor

Communities involved with Village SOS can learn from other communities across the UK who have been through a successful development process. Village SOS will partner your community up with a VSOS Mentor drawn from these communities who has knowledge and skills relevant to your project.
Mentors will provide between 3 and 6 days of support and are there to provide insights and support to your project from their experience. Current Mentors have experience in:

  • Mediation
  • Planning
  • Funding
  • Governance
  • Networking
  • Public relations
  • Change management
  • Community events
  • Local Government
  • Human resources
  • Establishing community organisations and businesses
  • Community asset transfers
  • Community engagement
  • Sustainable development
  • Supporting volunteers
  • Community transport

Free consultancy support

Projects involved with Village SOS can receive around three days of free consultancy support to help them make progress. Village SOS will help projects to develop a set of actions, in a bespoke plan of support to be delivered by Rocket Science, Forth Sector or other source of specialist support.
Rocket Science is an Edinburgh-based consultancy firm with strong ties to rural support networks in Scotland and expertise in rural development, business and strategic planning, facilitating consultation and community governance.
Forth Sector Development are leaders in thinking and practice on social enterprises, business development, procurement, community benefit, and organisational transformation.
Support will be tailored to your needs, and could include assistance in:

  • Developing clear plans and strategies
  • Engaging your community
  • Sourcing funding and specialist advice
  • Capacity building
  • Business development
  • Effective Governance

If it sounds like your community would benefit from participating in Village SOS then we would love to know a bit more about your project by filling in this form or by contacting Clare Hammond on 0131 226 4949 or


Client: ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England)

Team: Caroline Masundire, Clare Hammond, Lizzie Stanton

NHS Highland – Evaluation of GSH service

NHS Highland – Evaluation of GSH service

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

Rural Direct

Rural Direct

Rural Direct is the information and advice service about the funding of projects for rural communities across Scotland. We carried out surveys, focus groups, workshops and a wide range of interviews with a detailed interrogation of the Rural Direct Database. This allowed us to develop recommendations about how best to ensure that rural communities across Scotland have access to consistently high quality advice and guidance.

Client: Scottish Government

Dundee Partnership – Preventing Long Term Unemployment

Dundee Partnership – Preventing Long Term Unemployment

In 2015, Rocket Science was commissioned by the Dundee Partnership to assess how well prevention was being used to address the risk of long term unemployment. As part of this work we:

  • Defined prevention in the context of preventing long term unemployment
  • Completed a literature review into best practice preventative services for long term unemployment
  • Analysed the routes to long term unemployment in Dundee using socio economic analysis of unemployment, poverty, and educational outcomes, from this analysis we were able to identify who was most at risk of long term unemployment, and therefore who preventative services should be targeted at
  • Mapped all employability related services available in Dundee into a Systems map in order to identify where there were gaps or duplication in service provision
  • Using this system map we were able to assess the extent to which prevention was being used in service design and delivery
  • Made a range of recommendations of changes to processes and the creation of new services that strengthened the use of prevention in Dundee
  • Used cost-benefit modelling to calculate the cost of unemployment in Dundee, and the potential savings available as a result of preventing long term unemployment through our recommendations.


For more information on our work on the prevention agenda and cost-benefit modelling call the Edinburgh office on 0131 226 4949