Empowering young people pilots
The Empowering Young People Pilot (EYPP) is a £14.5 million Government initiative forming part of Aiming High for Young People (HM Treasury, 2007). This ten-year strategy sets out to transform leisure-time opportunities, activities and support services for young people in England. The role of EYPP within the strategy is to encourage disadvantaged young people to take part in positive activities of their choice.
Pilot projects, running in nine local authorities (LAs), are aimed at 20,000 young people in each LA in years 9 to 12 who are in care and/or eligible for free schools meals (or sub-groups within this bracket). Each young person receives up to £40 per month to spend on activities such as theatre trips, sports, music, dance, drama and outdoor pursuits. Young people do not have direct access to funds, but are able to access activities/equipment/transport using funds paid to the provider.
Through EYPP, it is intended that young people will gain ‘more control and choice’ over the services available to them, and that they will be encouraged and supported in their choices. Pilot projects are using various methods (for example debit cards, web-based funding or key workers) to overcome the financial barriers faced by young people in participating in positive activities. The pilots differ in their start-up date (from October 2007 to April 2008), but all nine run until March 2009.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) wish to test the following hypothesis: ‘Empowering individual disadvantaged young people to take part in positive activities of their choice through access to spending power increases their participation in such activities and contributes to educational engagement and other beneficial outcomes.’
- To test the various elements within this hypothesis (including the mechanisms that might be at work and the contexts in which they operate), a number of questions will be asked as follows.
- To what extent has participation in positive activities increased? What are the reasons for this occurrence or non-occurrence?
- To what extent has young people’s engagement in education increased? What are the reasons for this occurrence or non-occurrence?
- To what extent do other beneficial outcomes emerge, such as a decrease in youth crime or an improvement in physical or mental health amongst participants?
Impact and outcomes
A final report will be presented to DCSF in June 2009. The report will indicate the relative impact of EYPP in relation to the occurrence of increased participation in positive activities, the occurrence of increased engagement in education,, and the emergence of other beneficial outcomes. The report will indicate the relative effectiveness of each delivery model and suggest ways in which to develop the Pilot scheme.
Research design and methods
The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), in partnership with the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the University of Warwick, have adopted a two-fold research design in response to the diversity of LA approaches, the nature and size of the target population and the inherent difficulties of ascertaining the impact of a single operational model.
- Quantitative strand. NatCen is undertaking a detailed multi-strand quantitative study to assess the relative impact of EYPP on the take-up of positive activities. Young people who are invited to participate in the scheme in each LA will be surveyed via a postal questionnaire prior to the start of the scheme. A follow-up telephone survey will be undertaken with those who took part in the scheme, and a comparison group of similar young people who did not, to explore the impact of the EYPP on participation in positive activities.
- Qualitative strand. NFER and consultants from the University of Warwick will undertake a qualitative study of all nine LAs to develop an in-depth understanding of the operation of EYPP and the perceptions and views of key stakeholders (including potential participants, participants and the wider community). Each LA will be visited twice and LA staff will be asked about the strategic and operational models adopted, the sustainability of the scheme and its impact. In addition, a telephone survey will be carried out with providers of activities from the private, public, voluntary and community sectors.
NFER will carry out an end of programme analysis of the management information gathered by the EYPP pilot LAs to explore the nature and timing of the take-up of activities and the characteristics of those who choose to participate in the EYPP.
The main audience of the evaluation is DCFS, although LAs and other organisations interested in children’s services, 14-19 reform, youth support and inclusion, along with youth crime and justice are also important audiences.
Time scale: October 2007 - June 2009
NFER Project Code: EYP