Children, Young People, Families, Early Intervention and Adult Learning and Empowering Communities Fund evaluation: baseline report

This report is part of an evaluation which aims to assess whether the vision for the fund is achieved and to inform future decisions.


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 national third sector organisations in relevant policy areas during the period 2016-19. In total 118 third sector organisations were awarded funding of approximately £14m for 2016/17 with subsequent funding dependent on satisfactory progress towards individual outcomes and the overall budget available. Iconic Consulting is conducting a formative evaluation of the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund to assess whether the overall vision for the Fund is achieved and to help inform future decisions around this area of funding. This baseline report summarises the initial evaluation findings.

Background and policy context

The overall vision of the 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 the 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.

Getting it Right for Every Child ( GIRFEC) underpins the Scottish Government's approach to children, young people and families. It is defined as 'the national approach in Scotland to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people'. GIRFEC is based on four principles that are clearly evident in the CYPFEI & ALEC Fund:

  • It is child-focused - it ensures the child or young person, and their family, is at the centre of decision-making and the support available to them.
  • Is based on an understanding of the wellbeing of a child - it looks at a child or young person's overall wellbeing - how safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included ( SHANARRI) they are - so that the right support can be offered at the right time. This principle was developed further in the SHANARRI Wellbeing indicators.
  • Is based on tackling needs early - it aims to ensure needs are identified as early as possible to avoid bigger concerns or problems developing. This is in line with wider Government policy on shifting service delivery to early intervention and prevention (see 1.11)
  • Requires joined-up working - it is about children, young people, parents, and the services they need working together in a co-ordinated way to meet their specific needs and improve their wellbeing.

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 enshrined elements of GIRFEC in legislation. Key parts of the Act aim to improve the way services work to support children, young people and families by: putting in place a single planning process to support those children who require it; placing a definition of wellbeing in legislation; and placing duties on public bodies to co-ordinate the planning, design and delivery of services for children and young people with a focus on improving wellbeing outcomes. The Act also increased the entitlement to free early learning and childcare from 475 to 600 hours per year for all three and four year olds, as well as eligible two year olds. The Scottish Government has pledged to increase this entitlement to 1,140 hours per year by the end of this Parliament, a move informed by the findings of the Commission for Childcare Reform. Other parts of the Act relate to children and young people's rights and supporting looked after young people. Implementation of the Act's Named Person provisions has been delayed following a legal challenge in the UK Supreme Court.

The Act confirms the Scottish Government's longstanding commitment to early intervention and joined-up working in this policy area which was set out as early as 2008 in Early Years and Early Intervention. A Joint Scottish Government and COSLA Policy Statement which emphasised the intent for national and local government to work together to identify children and young people at risk of poor outcomes and address this through building capacity within families and communities. In the same year the Early Years Framework set out '10 overlapping elements that need to come together … in a concerted, long-term effort involving all partners working across a range of policies and services to deliver transformational change'. The Early Years Collaborative, launched in 2012, used improvement methodology to develop and implement innovative tests of change to improve outcomes for children and families. The GIRFEC agenda was also incorporated into the National Parenting Strategy published in 2012. The purpose of the Strategy is to act as a vehicle for valuing, equipping and supporting parents to be the best that they can be so that they, in turn, can give the children and young people of Scotland the best start in life'.

Scottish Government policy on education and learning is also relevant to the Fund. The CYPFEI element of the Fund complements formal education policy outlined in Curriculum for Excellence ( CfE) which provides an integrated framework for learning across the curriculum and throughout childhood to build the four key capacities for all children (successful learner, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributor). CfE 'aims to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland develop the attributes, knowledge and skills they will need to flourish in life, learning and work'. Activity supported by the Fund also complements the Scottish Attainment Challenge launched in 2015 that aims to address the attainment gap through funding for initiatives focussed on supporting pupils in deprived areas, initially targeting improvements in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in primary schools.

The ALEC element of the Fund specifically aims to deliver relevant elements of the Adult Learning in Scotland Statement of Ambition. The Statement, developed by the National Strategic Forum for Adult Learning, sets out how adult learning should contribute to the development of individuals, families, communities and society at large through lifelong, lifewide and learner-centred opportunities. It encompasses both formal and informal learning and makes the links to personal skills and employability, life chances, outcomes for communities and development of a knowledge-based society, as well as the social justice, health and social care policy agendas. Community based learning is key to delivering this and the Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013 and related guidance sets out that local authorities must work with partners and communities to secure community learning and development in their area and to publish their plans every three years. How Good is the Learning and Development in our Community supports the sector to assess progress.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 is intended to empower community bodies through the ownership of land and buildings and strengthen their voices in decisions and development of services. The Act specifies a range of duties that will apply to Community Planning partners and sets out expectations about the deployment of resources and planning processes. A Scottish Community Development Centre Briefing Paper suggests the Act will address inequality through: 1) the strengthening of community planning to give communities more of a voice in how public services are planned and provided; 2) new rights enabling communities to identify needs and issues, and request action to be taken; and 3) the extension of the community right to buy or otherwise have greater control over assets.

The Christie Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services was a key driver of the above policy developments. It concluded that radical reform around the design and delivery of services was required to bring about successful change, including closer partnership working, more effective planning and embedding community participation. In response to the Commission, the Scottish Government organised its public service reform agenda on four pillars: 1) a decisive shift towards prevention; 2) a greater focus on 'place' to drive better partnership, collaboration and local delivery; 3) investing in people who deliver services through enhanced workforce development and effective leadership; and 4) a more transparent public service culture which improves standards of performance through innovation and the use of technology. The developments have taken place in a landscape of reduced resources. In this climate of tightening public expenditure, and rising demand for services, the challenge for the public sector and its partners has been how to 'deliver more, with less'.


The specific questions to be addressed by the 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?

The evaluation involves a mixed methods approach which, to date, has consisted of:

  • Initial discussions with the Scottish Government team overseeing the Fund and the team at Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland responsible for monitoring and administering the grant and delivering a learning and development programme.
  • A review of Fund documentation such as the application guidance, and form, and minutes of the Board meeting in December 2015 that assessed applications.
  • A review of the grants including the amount awarded, the purpose of funding, and outcomes.
  • A review of relevant policy documents, as well as relevant reports on predecessor funds, Third Sector Early Intervention Fund Year 2 Review and Strategic Funding Partnerships Review.
  • A self-assessment form completed by 103 of the 118 funded organisations, a response rate of 87%. This online survey gathered views on the strengths, weaknesses and support needs of third sector organisations. As well as providing an assessment of current issues, the findings are designed to be used as a benchmark to identify changes in third sector views over the life of the Fund.
  • Interviews with seven Scottish Government/Education Scotland Policy Officers and twelve funded organisations selected to include a cross-section of grant holders. In addition, six stakeholders [1] have been interviewed to provide broader perspectives.

Report Structure

The remainder of this report is structured around the key issues addressed by the self-assessment survey and consultations as follows:


Email: Steven Fogg

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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