Agency Collaboration Fund: A supportive home – FAQs
In partnership with Children in Need and The Hunter Foundation
Please note that the list of mandatory partners on p14 of the Application Guidance should also include probation. This has now been added to the guidance.
Do there need to be match funding contributions from each of the multi-agency partners?
No, that would be at the partnership’s discretion. There is an expectation of a 10% contribution either cash or in kind in total, but it is up to the partnership to work out how this is provided.
Does match funding have to be cash?
No, it can be cash or in-kind so could include staff secondments, a suitable base for the team, training resources as well as other things.
The work we do includes children under the age of 10, could any of those children be part of the cohort we work with?
As it’s a feasibility study there is some flexibility but we expect the majority of the children to be in the 10-20 age range. We recognise that the list of children listed in the guidance as in scope is not exclusive and some children may sit outside of that scope. However, all children and young people in scope must be involved in or at risk of violence outside the home.
Are the two neighbourhoods to enable a control and a treatment group?
No – one is not the treatment group, and the other, the control group. The reason for having two neighbourhoods is to understand if and how different local conditions make a difference to implementation eg. community assets, local structures.
How is a neighbourhood defined?
We have provided an anticipated population range, including approximate numbers of families and children for a neighbourhood in the guidance. Neighbourhoods may also be referred to locally as for example, localities; communities etc.
The estimates have been taken from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care for England for Family Help teams.
Will successful applications be ones that demonstrate the involvement of young people, their parents and communities?
The involvement of children, young people and parents is a core principle in the framework. During preparation phase this is an important part of the process. The co-design partner that we have commissioned will support partnerships to develop their programme design which includes co-design. This is important in both the application process and taking forward the project throughout especially in the evaluation and in securing solutions.
Do you have a number in mind for the number of young people/families worked with for evaluation purposes?
We expect this to be in the hundreds.
We don’t yet know the numbers needed for an impact evaluation, and that’s what the evaluators will be helping to identify during the feasibility phase.
If we are currently receiving funding from another source such as the Your Choice Programme or the MoJ Turnaround Programme, can we still apply?
Yes but we cannot include sites that are delivering something very similar with the same cohort of children and young people who are already being evaluated through an impact evaluation. We are aware that there are a lot of programmes already underway so would need to look at this on a case-by-case basis.
Is there a minimum or maximum amount of funding you can apply for?
For feasibility we are planning to fund around £500,000 per partnership and to fund up to 5 partnerships anywhere in England or Wales. This would be to fund two teams in each partnership (around £500,000 for the two in total). This would cover the preparation phase lasting up to 6 months and the delivery phase of 12 months. Evaluation costs will be funded separately.
Is there freedom on what the £500k could be spent on or is it only staffing? If staffing, is that only within the applying local authority or across other partners too?
The funding can be used for both staffing and non-staffing costs. The funds can be used for staff from across the partnership – not just the local authority.
When giving financial projections in the application, can on-costs be included?
Yes these can be included.
Does the lead partner need to be the local authority?
Yes, but there are also named partners that we expect to be part of the partnership.
If we are a small local authority, we may not have sufficient numbers to apply. Can we partner with another local authority to make up the two neighbourhoods with sufficient numbers?
This is something that we are open to. We are anticipating that most applications will identify two neighbourhoods with sufficient numbers for this feasibility study. If we then decide to fund an impact study requiring each site to scale up to include at least two more sites, we think that some sites may need to partner with another local authority area.
If two local authorities apply together, the referring services may be very different. How can you evaluate this?
We are interested to understand how multi-agency teams operate for this cohort of children and young people in different contexts. We don’t currently understand what conditions will be required for an impact evaluation and what methods might be feasible for the impact evaluation. The evaluator will work on this during the feasibility phase. This is one of the reasons why we are bringing in an evaluation partner early in the process to think about this early on. During the application process we want to know that partnerships are willing to work through this process.
Can the partnership include partners other than those specified in the guidance?
Yes. We are specifying mandatory partners but that isn’t exclusive so other partners can be involved.
How long do children and young people need to be involved in the programme?
We haven’t specified this. The framework is flexible but must meet the needs of the children and young people it is there to serve. This will be worked through as part of the preparation phase.
Can you clarify if your focus is on the children and young people living in the specified neighbourhoods, or coming into them eg. for school, work or free time?
We haven’t specified this but it will be worked out during preparation phase. We recognise that families are fluid and move in and out of neighbourhoods for different reasons.
Is there existing evidence of what an effective multi-agency team approach and practice looks like?
There have been very few formal evaluations of multi-agency work so there is limited evidence on this type of work. We are trying to find out if multi-agency work for this cohort is effective and if so, which parts of it; and also what isn’t effective.
Do you need to have a good Ofsted (Estyn in Wales) rating to apply? What if we received ‘requires improvement’ in our last inspection but can show improvements. Would this be a problem, or do you think it is worth submitting a bid anyway?
We are looking for evidence of strong local leadership both within the local authority and across the partnership. Ofsted/Care Inspectorate Wales results are a good benchmark, and we are interested in applications from local authorities whose children’s services have been rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted or Care Inspectorate Wales. However, if your last inspection rating was ‘Requires Improvement’, this does not necessarily preclude your application if you can provide a very good narrative around the strength of your leadership, and partnership leadership, AND provide a strong narrative around our other selection criteria.
Will you give us tools to ensure we collect the correct and sufficient data for the evaluation eg. business travelled for communities or groups, or can we develop our own measures based on the programme?
It is a comprehensive process to design the evaluation with the evaluator to ensure we get the data we want but that it is also acceptable to local communities and works in practice. The evaluator will work closely with sites to agree data collection requirements, taking account of existing processes and requirements.
Is this model skewed to city settings given the numbers required? In a rural county we may be disadvantaged by the numbers required.
We are keen to have a wide range of applications based on different types of geographical locations. However, we do require all applicants to meet our minimum requirements in terms of numbers for us to be able to run an effective evaluation.
Are there any alternative forms of evaluation to RCT that would be acceptable? We’re not sure how a RCT would be received politically but would resistance to it affect the strength of our bid?
This is one reason why we undertake the feasibility study to see if a RCT would work in an area. Sometimes we use Quasi Experimental Design (QED) but we use RCTs wherever possible. This will be explored during the feasibility study. If an RCT is feasible, we do expect sites to engage. Commitment to an RCT where feasible is a core requirement for applicants.
You mention eligible numbers in the hundreds. Is this the pool that may be worked with rather than the number of young people that will be worked with?
This is the number the team will work with in order to measure the impact if we do progress to the next phase of the funding. We recognise some young people won’t engage in the programme but we are looking at grantees working with numbers in the hundreds so that we have the necessary conditions if we are able to move to impact evaluation. We may not need to work with hundreds of young people in the feasibility phase of the evaluation. This will become clearer once we bring an evaluation partner onboard in May 2023.
If the budget is approximately £500,000, it doesn’t seem feasible for numbers worked with to be in the hundreds as well as caseloads needing to be small.
We anticipate needing numbers of children and young people worked with to be in the hundreds in order to evaluate impact effectively and are also keen that caseloads are small. During the preparation phase of the project, we will be working with sites to understand numbers and team configurations in more detail. We will also be taking account of match funding in cash or in kind. Once sites have developed a draft delivery blueprint and this is approved, we will budget accordingly.
There is an expectation to expand beyond two neighbourhoods but some local authorities may not have communities/ neighbourhoods of a sufficient size to expand.
When we come to impact, local authorities can join with other local authority areas if required to be able to scale to the required number of neighbourhoods. We have not yet determined the criteria for partnering with other local authority areas. However, it is likely that we will require these to be local e.g. neighbouring local authorities within a sub-region.
If there are other YEF funded projects going on in our area, can be still considered for this round?
If you are running a very similar project with the same cohort of children and young people in your area, this may affect your eligibility for this programme. If you’re not sure, please contact us to check.
Is the scale up of the project to two further areas to be funded by the local authority partnership?
No – the YEF would fund an impact evaluation. We would expect a 10% minimum match funding in cash or in kind for the further 2 years.
Can a local authority submit more than one application? Partnerships in larger urban areas may be developed without each other’s knowledge so this could arise.
Yes, although we are keen to have a range of locations. This is one of the reasons that we have stated that the local authority needs to be the lead applicant. This will prevent applications being developed without each other’s knowledge.
Would pairing up for scale up with a statistical neighbour with similar demographics be acceptable rather than with a geographically neighbouring authority?
We have not yet determined the criteria for partnering with other local authority areas if we move to test impact. However, it is likely that we will require these to be local e.g. neighbouring local authority areas within a sub-region.
What are the expectations of the child’s voice in this process?
Very high. We want children and young people to be embedded in the process – having a voice throughout the project eg. through a young people’s steering group and co-design. We also want to test parents and carers as partners which is highlighted in the guidance.
If we are a large rural local authority with a VRU that covers six local authorities, could a combined application be made across the six local authorities?
Our preference for the feasibility study phase is that the neighbourhoods are in a single local authority area. If we then decide to fund an impact study which would require projects to scale up, they may partner with another local area. We have not yet determined the criteria for partnering with other local authority areas if we move to test impact. However, it is likely that we will require these to be local e.g. neighbouring local authority areas within a sub-region.
Are there any good practice guides?
In the guidance documents we have referred to several good practice guides including toolkits and other resources available. There may be others too. YEF’s toolkit also summarises some of the evidence base around this theme which can be found here: https://youthendowmentfund.org.uk/toolkit-about/
What is meant by ‘high rates of youth violence’?
For this question, we want you to show us that there is
- A need for this project in your chosen neighbourhoods.
- The potential for us to evaluate outcomes linked to offending or violence.
We want you to describe the nature and scale of violence and offending in your area that is committed by young people, supported by any relevant data. For example, through your local strategic needs assessment and youth justice, police and probation data, at both local authority area and chosen neighborhood levels.
We have not set a benchmark for levels of youth violence required and there will be no pass/fail threshold against a specific metric. However:
- In another question, we do require applicants to demonstrate that the number of children and young people involved in or at risk of violence outside the home is in the hundreds for each neighbourhood team. This is a pass/fail requirement.
- As set out in our guidance, we will assess applications on our ability to properly evaluate what you do. This will include assessing the nature and scale of violence in your area to understand how likely it is we could evaluate outcomes linked to violence or offending in the future.
What definition of ‘violence’ is being used?
By violent crime, we mean the use of force or threat of force against another person or people, for example punching someone, threatening someone with a weapon, or mugging someone. This also includes sexual assault, which is when somebody intentionally touches someone in a sexual way without their consent. Included in our definition of violence is:
- Sexual assault
- Being threatened by a weapon
- Being assaulted, including on school premises
- Being stabbed.
Please can you give further clarity on the budget breakdown, how much funding is directed to each of the sections?
6 months preparation, 12 months implementation, following evaluation etc, the 2/3-year extension period.
Is there also any budget toolkit that will need to be completed for the submission?
For feasibility we are planning to fund around £500,000 per partnership and to fund up to 5 partnerships anywhere in England or Wales. This is to fund two teams in each partnership (around £500,000 for the two in total). This will cover the preparation phase lasting up to 6 months and the delivery phase of 12 months. Evaluation costs and co-design support costs will be funded separately. We have said ‘around £500,000 per partnership’ because we will not know exact costs until the delivery blueprint has been agreed during the first six months of preparation phase. Any agreed additional costs over and above this amount, will be funded by YEF. We do require a minimum of 10% match funding from applicants which can be in cash or in-kind, and there is a question in the application form which asks you to describe this. We do not require any other budget information from you at this stage.
We have not yet agreed budgets for project scale ups for an impact evaluation, and are unlikely to do so until much nearer the time (i.e. if outcomes from this feasibility study are promising). The scale-up will be funded by YEF (and potentially other co-funders). It’s likely that we’ll be asking for a minimum of 10% cash or in-kind contribution from partnerships at this stage as well, though this is to be confirmed.
Can a voluntary sector partner be involved in more than one application?
Yes that’s fine.