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How we made our decisions about Another chance

Read our full feedback on applications to our grant round

When the grant round opened, we shared our criteria for assessment in our prospectus:

A great planA worthwhile outcomeYou are aiming to change things that are likely to ultimately reduce the risk of young people becoming involved in violence
If achieved well, likely to deliver the outcome You are delivering an intervention that is likely to achieve the outcomes you are aiming at
Aiming to reach the right type of young peopleYou are aiming to reach the young people who are most likely to be at risk of becoming involved in youth violence
Likely to lead to chance If what you deliver is shown to be effective, it is believable that it could reach many more young people
Strong capability to deliver the planLikely to reach the right type of young peopleYou are likely to be able to reach and work with the type of young people you aim to work with
Able to deliver You are likely to be able to deliver the plan you have laid out
Evaluable We can evaluate what you do. This is partly about ensuring that by the end of two years of funding you will be able to work with a large enough group of young people that we could run a randomised control trial
Able to deliver at the required scale You will be able to deliver at the size you propose
Our assessment criteria for Another chance: diversion from the criminal justice system

Where did applications tend to do less well?

Of the application criteria we set out, there were three areas where we tended to see the biggest difference between the projects that made it to the next stage, and those that didn’t.

The fifth criteria: likely to reach the right type of young people

One of the most common places that applicants didn’t provide as much detail as we’d liked to have seen was on our requirement that projects were likely to reach the right type of young people. Sometimes, it wasn’t clear to us how projects would make sure they were working with the children at highest risk, especially if they hadn’t been arrested. For example, an application might have included an intention to work with social services or a Youth Offending Team (YOT) to identify children who might benefit from taking part. But we wanted to know exactly how this would work – would social workers be informed about the project and asked to make referrals? Would there be a formal partnership with a YOT? These details would have strengthened a lot of applications.

There were also cases where we weren’t sure how projects would make sure that all young people would be able to access the programme they were going to provide. How would monitoring work? Would they work with locally trusted community organisations to strengthen participation among children from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds? This is especially important, given what we know about disproportionality in youth diversion.  

The seventh criteria: being evaluable

Another assessment criteria where projects tended not to be as strong was on being evaluable. Through our themed grant rounds, we’re looking for projects that are ready for a robust type of evaluation (like a randomised control trial or quasi-experimental design). This means we wanted to see applications where there was a clear, standardised offer to every single young person taking part in the project. For example, that could include a 12-week, one-to-one Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme for children who had been arrested or two months of employment training for young people referred by social care. The important thing was that delivery is the same for every single child. Otherwise, it’s difficult to tell what it is about a project that’s making a difference.  

Some of the strongest projects also included information about the evaluations they’d already carried out. If you apply for a future themed grant round, it would be great to see anything you’ve done to evaluate your project – especially if you’ve already done pilot or feasibility studies.

You can use the Early Intervention Foundation’s 10 steps to evaluation success to see what we mean when we talk about moving from earlier to more robust types of evaluations.    

The eighth criteria: being able to deliver at scale 

In some applications, the able to deliver at the required scale could have been expanded on or clarified. Sometimes projects would tell us they would go from delivering to quite a small number of children (for example, 30) to a much higher number (over our required threshold of 100), without explaining exactly how they’d be able to recruit so many new participants. Would it be through strengthened relationships with the agencies making referrals? How would that work? Would it be through partnership with a local voluntary sector organisation that is already delivering in local schools? Answering these types of questions would help us see how you could achieve the scale you set out.

Funding diverse organisations

In our strategy, we made a commitment to equality:

Children and young people from marginalised backgrounds – including Black and Asian children and young people and children with experience of the care system – are significantly overrepresented in the youth justice system. If we don’t work alongside our partners to understand and address this inequality, we can’t achieve our mission. We know that we can do better and we’re determined to be part of the solution. We’ll strive to make sure that our staff, our partnerships, our governance and our funding reaches and represents the children we are here to serve.

Youth Endowment Fund strategy, 2020-29

Alongside our assessment criteria, this commitment also shaped our decision-making. We wanted to make sure that we’re funding organisations in across the breadth of England and Wales and that our funding reaches and represents the children we are here to serve.

Final thoughts

We did receive a few applications that were really strong but didn’t fit well into our Another chance theme. We’re planning more themed rounds over the lifetime of the fund, all based on what children and young people told us they needed.  

We hope that you’ll keep checking to see what we’re funding next, because it might be that your project is a better fit.

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