An Evaluation of the Personal Development Partnership

This report reviews the management and outcomes from the Personal Development Partnership programme.

Contribution of PDP Project: Final Outcomes

1.67 The PDP can be seen to have contributed to the reduction in anti-social behaviour of the 159 young people who have completed the programme and reached a positive destination, Given that all the young people referred to PDP were not attending school, and at risk of offending or involved in offending, reaching a positive destination for all of these means they have "more choices and chances to succeed, reducing the likelihood of them being involved in antisocial behaviour " (Scottish Government 2013)

1.68 244 young people concluded journeys from the inception of PDP, the figure of 159 represents 65% of all of the young people to exit PDP up to November 2012. This represents an increase of 400% (127) in nine months.

1.69 Setting aside those young people who re-engaged with school, significantly more young people went to further education or training opportunities than either employment or volunteering opportunities (CI 0.712 to 0.863). Fifteen per cent (17) of young people managed to get employment. Twenty nine percent of all positive destinations were re-engagement with school. Significantly more positive destinations in hub1 were further education and training opportunities than either hub2 or hub3 (CI: 0.0683 to 0.413; CI: 0.0142 to 0.467).

Table 8: Positive Destinations

Hub 1 Hub 2 Hub 3 Hub 4 Total
Employment 8 3 5 1 17
FE/Training 49 26 13 1 89
Volunteering 0 4 3 0 7
Sub-Total 57 33 21 2 113
Re-engaged with school 30 9 6 1 46
TOTAL 87 42 27 3 159

1.70 Bringing together the evaluation approaches allows us to assess success for the young people, the partnership and the project (see Appendices 2 and 3).

1.71 Professional respondents in the project were asked what they would see as successful outcomes for the PDP in early interviews. These 'criteria for success' for the PDP project were incorporated into the logic models for the contribution analysis, and revisited at regular intervals. Respondents included the staff and partners of PDP, representatives of MCMCs, and other key referral organisations, relevant Scottish Government Policy partners. This section presents the final review of the core criteria for success in relation to outcomes for PDP young people, the PDP Partnership and the PDP project as a whole.

1.72 Three criteria have been consistently met throughout the project:

  • The numbers of young people being referred to the project
  • The numbers of young people completing partner courses
  • The sharing of learning among the PDP partners

1.73 Eleven criteria have improved in the last year on previous performances

  • Positive journeys made (with more than one partner utilised)
  • Positive destinations reached
  • Learning in terms of partner's own organisations
  • Establishing partnership working
  • Building relationships with local authorities
  • PDAs using resources across the PDP partnership
  • Having appropriate operational set-up
  • Operational criteria: that the programme is set up and working
  • Establishing the role of the Development Manager
  • Building the influence of PDP at the frontline
  • Independence of the PDP from other provision

1.74 Access to the PDP was one of the identified criteria for success which has always been met in overall project terms, but one Hub has struggled throughout to cope with the level of referrals although as has been noted elsewhere in this report, steps have now been taken to remedy this

1.75 By the end of the evaluation period, the PDP project had met or partially met all but one of the core criteria as set out in Appendix 3.

1.76 In addressing the final outcomes from the Contribution Analysis Framework we can see that the programme has reduced the likelihood of further anti-social behaviour for young people completing their journeys but there are a number of learning points:

1.77 PDA role versus partner programmes: relationships with PDAs have been highlighted by all young people taking part as very important and helpful and receive more positive reviews overall than other components of the programme. As has been noted in the literature it is often the relationships built that are of the most help in turning young people's lives around. It is hard to assess the relative influence of the role of one continuous worker versus the value of the diversionary activities themselves. It is also hard to assess to what extent young people continue to thrive after the support of the PDA is withdrawn

1.78 Influence of families and other external factors: The case studies in this report illustrate the very complex and disruptive circumstances young people referred to this project find themselves in. It can be very difficult to create and maintain positive relationships and the influence of their families, peers, or life events may interrupt or disrupt participation in the project through no fault of the PDP workers. It is hard to judge how long to keep following up a young person with whom the project has lost contact especially given the opportunity costs of working with other cases. For young women, becoming pregnant may mark the end of engagement with PDP, and for this group careful referral to other agencies may be important.

1.79 Partnership working: Multi-agency projects are complex and in this case partnership working took a long time to build. Towards the end of the project data demonstrates partnership gains in marketing and networking, achieving referrals and learning across the programme. Some of the partnership issues could have been avoided and others speeded up had there been a partnership agreement in place, more thought given early on to the partnership structures, and time to develop the partnership included in the project timeline. In the event, none of the partner organisations saw these tasks as a priority, causing mistakes, staff turnover and lost opportunities. By the end of the project these issues were resolved to good effect.

1.80 Further external factors impact on PDP: This project has been developed in the context of the on-going recession, increasing unemployment, especially for young people, and accompanying increased pressure on college and other training opportunities. For the young people that PDP seeks to support this posed especial challenges. The likelihood of getting into employment or training when competition is high is least likely for the most vulnerable young people in need of high levels of support. Realistic positive destinations for many PDP young people are more likely to be training than employment in the medium term until better economic times. This means that targets that may have seemed realistic at the start of the project need to be revised, and that partnerships with the private sector need to be entered into with extreme caution to avoid creating false expectations.


Email: Ban Cavanagh

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