Publication - Research and analysis

Child Poverty Action Group - advice, information and training services: evaluation

Evaluation of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland’s second tier advice, information and training services.

64 page PDF

1.5 MB

64 page PDF

1.5 MB

Contents
Child Poverty Action Group - advice, information and training services: evaluation
1. Introduction

64 page PDF

1.5 MB

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction

This report presents the findings from the Scottish Government's evaluation of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland's welfare rights second tier advice, information and training services. The report details the background and objectives of the evaluation plus the methodology used, presenting the key findings from primary and secondary data. The report then draws conclusions and provides recommendations regarding CPAG in Scotland's services.

1.2 Background

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) was established in 1965 and is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children. CPAG is based in Glasgow (established in 1999) and London and is a membership organisation, which is also funded by its publication and training activities in addition to receiving external funding. The organisation aims to raise awareness and understanding of the causes of poverty, its scope and scale and the impacts poverty has on children's lives; whilst enabling those in poverty to maximise their incomes and contributing to positive policy changes for households in poverty. Its publications, training and campaigning activities work to achieve these aims.

Since 2004, the Scottish Government has funded Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland to develop, organise and deliver welfare rights training, information and casework support to advisers and other frontline workers in order to increase their capacity and capability to give accurate and effective advice and information on benefits to households. In 2018/19 the Scottish Government provided CPAG in Scotland with £610,000 in funding for the second tier welfare rights advice service.

Figure 1. Simple logic model of CPAG in Scotland's services to maximise income and reduce poverty
Image:Logic model detailing CPAG in Scotland’s services to maximise income and reduce poverty

The key aims of CPAG in Scotland's services are:

  • To support advisers and other frontline staff in the voluntary, public and private sectors to deliver accurate, high quality advice on benefit entitlements for low income households
  • To provide an evidence base that will be used, through a separately funded Early Warning System, to support policy makers and service providers to develop policies and services that better fit the needs of low income families

As a result, CPAG in Scotland's second tier advice service is expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Advisers and frontline support staff working with low-income families increase benefit and tax credit knowledge and skills
  • Frontline agencies provide accurate, high quality, effective advice and information on benefits both in and out of work
  • Households maximise available income by: ensuring people claim the benefits they are entitled to; improving people's financial capability; and leaving fewer people struggling with debt
  • Policy makers and service providers are better informed on the impacts of welfare reforms on devolved policies and services, and can develop policies and services better fit to the needs of low-income families

CPAG in Scotland provides a dedicated welfare rights second tier advice service as part of its overall work to develop and campaign for policy solutions to end child poverty. The service provides information, casework advice and training to frontline advisers and support staff working with families across Scotland. Beneficiaries of the service include welfare rights advisers, solicitors, student advisers, housing staff, health workers, family support staff, social workers and social security staff. The service provided to these beneficiaries includes:

  • Casework support via telephone and email
  • A range of online and face-to-face training opportunities for front line advisers and support staff (e-learning resources can be found here: http://elearning.cpag.org.uk/)
  • Advice handbooks and factsheets in both hard copy and electronic formats
  • Online resources to support the Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers
  • Specific training, casework advice and information on benefits for students, benefits for minority ethnic communities, households affected by disability and children living with their parents and benefits for families

1.3 Objectives

The primary purpose of this evaluation was to assess the extent to which all aspects of CPAG in Scotland's second tier advice services ensure that households are able to maximise their available incomes and contribute to the overall outcomes of reducing the number of families and households with children who live in poverty. The evaluation was also designed with the aim to help inform future Scottish Government investment and make recommendations for future development of CPAG in Scotland's second tier advice services as well as for wider advice services in Scotland.

The specific objectives addressed in the course of this evaluation were to:

1. Assess the extent to which CPAG Scotland's second tier advice service contributes to the outcomes set out in the grant letter, notably:

  • Advisers and frontline support staff working with low-income families have increased benefit and tax credit knowledge and skills
  • Frontline agencies provide accurate, high quality, effective advice and information on benefits both in and out of work
  • Available household incomes are maximised by: ensuring people claim the benefits they are entitled to; improving people's financial capability; and leaving fewer people struggling with debt

2. Inform future Scottish Government investment, assess what aspects of the second tier advice service are working well in achieving its aims, identify any areas for improvement, and make recommendations on how to respond to these.

3. Make recommendations for future development of CPAG's Second Tier advice services / wider tier 2 services.

4. Make recommendations on ways to improve measurement of outcomes and impact.


Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot