Evaluation of the Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention and Adult Learning and Empowering Communities Fund: interim report

Iconic Consulting is conducting a formative evaluation of the core funding awards made by the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund.


The Scottish Government established the Children, Young People & Families Early Intervention and Adult Learning & Empowering Communities (CYPFEI & ALEC) Fund to enhance the core services and infrastructure of third sector organisations in relevant policy areas during the period 2016-19. In total 118 third sector organisations were awarded core funding of approximately £14m for 2016/17 with subsequent funding dependent on satisfactory progress towards their stated outcomes and Scottish Government budgets. Further annual core funding awards of £14m followed in 2017/18 and 2018/19. In March 2018, Scottish Government announced the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund would continue for a fourth year to the end of March 2020 during which the future of funding in this policy area would be set out.

Iconic Consulting is conducting a formative evaluation of the core funding awards made by the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund. The aim of the evaluation is to assess whether the overall vision for the Fund is achieved and to help inform future decisions around this area of funding. The evaluation does not cover the project funding awards made separately by the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund in 2017. A Baseline Report was published in September 2016 summarising the initial evaluation findings. This Interim Report assesses progress to mid-2018 and the emerging impact. The report is intended to inform discussions regarding the future of funding in this policy area.

Fund overview

The overall vision of the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund is to:

  • Deliver nationally on improved outcomes for children, families, young people and adult learners through supporting the Third Sector in prevention and early intervention approaches.
  • Strengthen the Third Sector to increase the effectiveness of services and policies that prioritise prevention and early intervention in the areas of children, young people and families and adult learning, at a national level through:
    • Developing the third sector’s national level infrastructure to support local service delivery.
    • Establishing mechanisms that support sharing of information and intelligence between Scottish Government and the third sector to improve policy development and the use of evidence in policy making.
    • Increasing the intrinsic capacity and skills of third sector organisations across a range of features (including through experience sharing between organisations).
    • Increase the number of formal and informal partnerships between third sector organisations.

The Fund aims to contribute to the following national outcomes:

  • Our children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed.
  • Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.
  • We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk.
  • We have tackled significant inequalities in Scottish society.
  • We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others.
  • We are better educated, more skilled and more successful.

The CYPFEI element of the Fund is expected to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families through: 1) the delivery of prevention and early intervention; 2) building parenting and family capacity and skills; and 3) contributing to positive and sustained support for children and young people to achieve their potential under the GIRFEC Wellbeing indicators. The ALEC element of the Fund is expected to improve outcomes for adult learners and building community capacity through: 1) prevention and early intervention through adult learning and community capacity building; 2) support to, and delivery of, lifewide, lifelong, learner-centred adult learning as outlined in the Statement of Ambition for Adult Learning in Scotland; and 3) using an asset based approach, work with adult learners or with communities to plan and co-design learning or capacity building opportunities. The CYPFEI & ALEC Fund objectives are aligned with, and expected to contribute to, delivery of Scottish Government policy in these key areas.

The Fund is supporting third sector organisations across nine key policy areas:

  • Parenting, Play and Family Support
  • Early Learning and Childcare
  • Looked After Children
  • Children’s rights and well-being
  • Child protection
  • Child Health
  • Adult Learning and Empowering Communities
  • Youthwork
  • Gender based violence.

The Fund is overseen by the Scottish Government Promoting Prevention Team.

The Corra Foundation (formerly Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland) was commissioned by the Scottish Government to deliver the grant management and monitoring aspects of the Fund and provide support to the funded organisations. The Foundation’s role has been extended into the fourth year of funding.

Background and policy context

The Baseline Report summarised the Fund’s background and policy context at that time. Key references included GIRFEC, The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, the Scottish Attainment Challenge, the Adult Learning in Scotland Statement of Ambition, and The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. Early intervention and prevention was highlighted as a cross-cutting issue that the establishment of the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund aimed to address. Key policy developments since publication of the Baseline Report are summarised below.

The Scottish Government published the Fairer Scotland Action Plan in October 2016 following widespread consultation around how Scotland could be a fairer and more equal place to live (The Fairer Scotland Conversation). The Action Plan contained five broad ambitions for 2030 and 50 detailed actions up to 2020 to tackle poverty, reduce inequality and build a fairer and more inclusive Scotland. Of the five ambitions, Ending Child Poverty and A Strong Start for All Young People are particularly pertinent to the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund and the organisations it supports; the other ambitions (A Fairer Scotland for All, Fairer Working Lives and a Thriving Third Age) are also relevant to the Fund. The Plan stated ‘to end child poverty, we will strengthen our approach, which focuses on maximising family incomes, boosting life chances and helping build sustainable communities in which to grow up’. The first action was to introduce a Child Poverty Bill which the Scottish Government achieved with the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017. The Act contains four targets to reduce child poverty that the Scottish Government has a statutory obligation to meet. In March 2018, the Scottish Government published ‘Every Child, Every Chance, The Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-22’ setting out a series of actions to meet the 2030 statutory targets.

In December 2016, the Scottish Government published Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 Community Planning Guidance to aid the introduction of the Act. The National Standards for Community Engagement were also revised in 2016 to take account of the 2015 Act.

In November 2017, Education Scotland issued a Revised Guidance Note on Community Learning & Development (CLD) Planning 2018-21. The guidance aims to support local authorities and their partners to meet the requirements of the Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013. The guidance has been revised to take account of learning from the development of the 2015-18 CLD Plans, a HM Inspectors aspect review and CLD Inspections during 2016/17. Following a commitment to expand entitlement to free early learning and childcare to 1,140 hours per year for all three and four years olds and some two year olds by 2020, the Scottish Government and CoSLA[1] published a joint consultation paper in March 2018 on the proposed service model. Proposals include a ‘funding follows the child’ approach and new National Standards for Funded Early Learning and Childcare Provision.

Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) of £120m per annum in 2017/18 and 2018/19 has been a key feature of the implementation of the Scottish Attainment Challenge. The funding is allocated directly to primary and secondary schools across Scotland and a number of the CYPFEI & ALEC funded organisations have subsequently benefitted from PEF. Education Scotland produced guidance to assist third sector organisations to access PEF opportunities. A number of CYPFEI & ALEC funded organisations have also implemented a range of initiatives throughout 2018 to celebrate the Year of Young People.

Scottish Government published a revised National Performance Framework in June 2018. Following widespread consultation, the Framework sets out a vision for national wellbeing in Scotland across a range of economic, social and environmental factors. It contains 11 National Outcomes including the following which are the most relevant to the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund:

  • We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we reach our full potential.
  • We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe.
  • We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society.
  • We are healthy and active.


The specific questions to be addressed by the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund evaluation are:

  • How has this fund as a whole contributed at a national level towards improving outcomes for beneficiaries?
  • Has the embedding of early intervention and prevention in the ethos of organisations supported through this fund been sustained or improved. If so, what was the contribution of this fund, and what has the impact been?
  • Has the fund impacted on internal Scottish Government processes and ways of working, including third sector having opportunities to co-produce and add value to the development of Scottish Government policy?
  • Have the capacity, skills and knowledge of the third sector improved as a result of being part of this funding programme. If so, what has the impact been?
  • Have formal and informal partnerships between third sector organisations arisen as a result of being part of this fund? If so, what has the impact of these partnerships been?

In addition, the Scottish Government identified the Policy Officer role as a specific area of interest for this Interim Report. The role is an integral part to the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund and the Scottish Government requested evidence on its emerging impact was incorporated into the formative evaluation.

This Interim Report is based on evidence gathered via the following research:

  • A group discussion with the Scottish Government Promoting Prevention Team overseeing the Fund and a separate group discussion with the Corra Foundation team responsible for grant management, monitoring and support.
  • A review of Fund documents including Quarterly Reports produced by a sample of 20 funded organisations, the Corra Foundation’s Quarterly and Annual Overview Reports and annual summaries of the Support and Engagement Programme, minutes of the Stakeholder Group, and 2018/19 funding award recommendations.
  • An online self-assessment exercise completed by 104 of the 118 funded organisations in November 2017 (the original mid-point of the Fund), a response rate of 88%. The self-assessment exercise was designed as the central part of the evaluation methods and the form was co-produced with the Scottish Government at the outset of the evaluation to focus on seven themes that reflected the Fund’s outcomes and the evaluation aims. The survey was first undertaken in May 2016 for the Baseline Report and the updated findings are intended to indicate changes in third sector views. Appendix 1 contains further details on the survey.
  • A confidential survey completed by 24 of 40 Policy Officers from Scottish Government and Education Scotland, a response rate of 60%.
  • Depth interviews conducted in person and by telephone with representatives from 18 funded organisations selected at the outset of the evaluation to cover a cross-section of grant holders. 
  • Detailed analysis of the quantitative and qualitative evidence gathered from the research described above. The evaluation questions provided the overarching framework for the analysis. Responses to the self-assessment exercise were analysed in Excel. Noteworthy changes in responses from 2016 to 2017 are highlighted in this report as potential indicators of change rather than definitive, statistically significant findings. These findings are complemented by the qualitative findings which were analysed using a thematic approach that identified recurring or notable issues.

Report Structure

This report is structured as follows:

  • Summarises progress to date and the support provided by the Corra Foundation (Section 2).
  • Assesses the emerging impact and challenges among the funded organisations (Section 3).
  • Examines the Policy Officer role (Section 4).
  • Presents our overall conclusions (Section 5).


Email: socialresearch@gov.scot

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