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Place-based funding

Agency Collaboration Fund: Another chance

Creating partnerships to prevent violence

Entry deadline:
21st March 2022

Applications have now closed.


We know that many children and young people at risk of becoming involved in violence are known to local statutory agencies such as police services, GP practices, schools and colleges and children’s services. Yet this knowledge is often fragmented across multiple organisations, with different people holding different pieces of the puzzle. Opportunities where agencies could and should work together effectively to better prevent children becoming involved in violence are missed.

To help understand where those opportunities are, we’re investing in our Agency Collaboration Fund. We want to understand if, how and when effective collaboration between agencies (and sometimes within agencies) can prevent children from involvement in violence.

The questions we’re aiming to answer:

Which partnership models work best to support children and young people and how?

How do local conditions and contexts affect change?

Which agency collaboration activities, interventions and approaches are most effective at preventing children and young people from becoming involved in violence?

What we’re aiming to invest in

In the first grant round of our Agency Collaboration Fund we’re investing in a multi-agency approach, which research has shown to be particularly effective at reducing violent crime: focused deterrence.

We want to build on the current evidence and improve our understanding of how agencies can best share data, power and information to successfully implement a focused deterrence approach.

What is focused deterrence?

Focused deterrence is an approach to violence reduction that was developed in Boston (USA) in the mid-1990s. It recognises that most serious violence is associated with a small group of people who are themselves very likely to be victims of violence, trauma and extremely challenging circumstances. Their involvement in violence is often driven by exploitation, victimisation and self-protection. Some versions of focused deterrence, including the original ‘Boston Ceasefire’ intervention of the 1990s, focus primarily on groups rather than individuals. These approaches recognise that violence is often driven by conflict between groups. If two groups are engaged in violent conflict, focusing on the individuals who have committed violent crime is unlikely to prevent future conflict between other members of the groups.

Focused deterrence for group violence attempts to identify:

  • groups and group dynamics (both in groups and between groups), which are driving violence
  • those associated with groups
  • any key individuals involved in violent incidents.

Once identified, focused deterrence then offers support to young people, to help them stop their involvement in violence.

In summary, focused deterrence combines several strategies:

  1. Support: help for people involved in violence to access positive support and services.
  2. Community engagement: engaging the wider community to communicate that they want violence to stop and those involved to be safe, provide support and encourage reintegration. Projects will often arrange engagement between the people who are the focus of the intervention and victims’ family members, reformed former group members and faith leaders.
  3. Deterrence: clear communication of the consequences of violence and swift and certain enforcement if violence occurs.

Who we’re funding

With the Home Office we’re investing £6 million in four different local partners to delivery focused deterrence projects in five locations:

  • The West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in Coventry and Wolverhampton
  • Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire VRU in Nottingham
  • Violence Reduction Network in Leicester
  • Greater Manchester VRU in Manchester

Why we’re investing in focused deterrence

In our consultation for this round, people told us that some children and young people become involved in violence without ever having accessed or effectively engaged with support services – even when those young people are known to statutory agencies. They told us that traditional support services have not been able to fully address the needs of these children and young people, and that agencies are often not collaborating as effectively as they could or should.

In our Toolkit, the evidence shows that focused deterrence could have a high impact on reducing violent crime. However, implementation in the UK to date has had mixed results (often because it’s quite complicated to manage all of the different agencies involved). That’s why we want to fund and evaluate more focused deterrence programmes in England and Wales. By finding out if and how focused deterrence works in our local communities, we can keep more children and young people safe from violence.

Evaluation protocol


24 March 2022
Applications open
w/c 31 January & 7 February 2022
Application workshops (x2)
14 March 2022
Opportunity for clarification questions closes
21 March 2022
Applications close
w/c 21 March 2022
4-5 April 2022
8 April 2022
Second interviews (if required)
27 April & 9 May 2022
Workshops with shortlisted projects and evaluation partners to develop the research elements of the project.
May 2022
YEF Grants Committee approval
June 2022
Grant agreement sign-off and on-boarding meetings
July 2022
Preparation phase starts
Please see application guidance for more details.
January 2023
YEF Grants Committee approval for projects to move from Preparation to Delivery phase
January 2023 onwards
Delivery of focused deterrence projects