Publication - Research and analysis

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

Published: 23 Apr 2019
Directorate:
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
ISBN:
9781787816572

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

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

Conclusions

Scottish Government core funding awards of £14m per annum from the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund has sustained and enhanced the core services and infrastructure of 118 third sector organisations supported by the Fund since April 2016. Overall, the evidence presented in this report demonstrates that the awards are meeting the Fund’s vision of strengthening the third sector and delivering improved outcomes for children, young people, families, adult learners and communities. The funded organisations reported that multi-annual funding for core services and infrastructure provides a degree of organisational stability which would otherwise be lacking. The organisational stability created by the Fund helps the funded organisations to address the Fund’s aims to prioritise prevention and early intervention, increase capacity and skills within the sector, and enhance partnership working. The reported benefits were equally strong among the intermediary organisations supported by the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund as they were for the numerous service delivery organisations also supported by the Fund.

The self-assessment survey focused on key issues addressed by the Fund and was designed as a central element of the formative evaluation process, complemented by extensive qualitative research with funded organisations, Scottish Government, Education Scotland and the Corra Foundation. The survey findings indicate improvement in the funded organisations’ involvement in local groups and national structures, their interaction with Scottish Government, equality issues and organisational knowledge, capacity and skills. Although the survey found only a marginal improvement in organisational knowledge, skills and capacity, consultation with the funded organisations demonstrated the importance of the Fund in this area. The organisations reported that funding, particularly funding for central posts was vital in building organisational capacity. In turn this capacity enabled organisations to undertake key tasks such as enhancing staff knowledge and skills, developing new services, securing additional funding, and building relationships with public and third sector organisations.

The organisational capacity facilitated by the Fund helped funded organisations to maintain their existing focus on early intervention and prevention, and to ensure equalities issues remain an important part of all aspects of their operations, directly through the delivery of core services and indirectly through strengthened infrastructure. It has also provided new opportunities for joint working and helped sustain and develop existing relationships.

Improvements in interaction with Scottish Government were reported and can be partly attributed to the Scottish Government and Education Scotland staff who have fulfilled the role of Policy Officer. Feedback from funded organisations illustrated the benefits of having a named contact to support them although variation in the level of contact, and changes in Policy Officer personnel created challenges for some organisations. Feedback from Policy Officers highlighted how the role has had a positive impact on them in terms of information and intelligence sharing, policy development, and their understanding of the third sector. The fact that Policy Officers highlighted an impact on policy development was noteworthy as the funded organisations did not rate this issue highly; it may be that they are unaware of how they have influenced policy. The Corra Foundation has provided valuable support to the funded organisations on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Financial sustainability and funding were identified as ongoing concerns among the funded organisations although some interesting examples illustrated how organisations were trying to improve their sustainability. Given the challenges most third sector organisations face in generating income and the limited availability of other external funding sources for core services and infrastructure, funded organisations emphasised the ongoing need for Scottish Government funding of this nature. They called on the Scottish Government to clarify the future of the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund as soon as possible. The evidence presented in this report supports the funded organisations’ view that the Fund is delivering on its vision of strengthening the third sector and delivering improved outcomes for children, young people, families, adult learners and communities.


Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot