An Evaluation of the Personal Development Partnership

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


1.1 This report presents the findings and learning from the Personal Development Partnership (PDP) from May 2010 to November 2012.

1.2 PDP is a partnership project between Princes Trust, Venture Scotland and Venture Trust. At the outset Fairbridge was also a partner but it merged with Princes Trust in 2011. PDP is funded by the Scottish Government Cashback for Communities. It provides outdoor based activities and opportunities for courses over 4 sites, namely Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow and (from April 2012) North Lanarkshire. PDP started with a target group of 14-17 year olds, which on review was amended to 14-19. PDP referrals are young people who are unemployed or not engaging in education or training, and have a 'significant' risk of offending.

1.3 The evaluation has taken an innovative and practical approach. It combines contribution analysis with a pluralistic approach and this ensures we acknowledge, map and assess the complexity of this project (see Appendix 1 Methods and Appendix 2 Contribution Analysis Framework). Regular feedback was provided through workshops and on-going reviews of a development matrix, criteria for success matrix, and a listing of risks and assumptions (see Appendix 3 Criteria for Success Assessment).

1.4 This report presents an overview of the evaluation and key findings on the contribution made by the project to helping young people set goals and get the support they need to reach positive destinations. It also highlights key learning on partnership working, engaging with troubled young people, and sustaining a multi-hub project during a period of economic constraints.

1.5 The evaluation was conducted using mixed methods and a developmental approach. Methods, data and analytical processes are outlined in Appendices 1, 2 and 3 and Table 1 below presents an overview of data sources.

Table 1: Sources of Evaluation Data

Source of Evaluation Data Numbers and Rounds Total Different Interviewees Total Interviews
Interviews with PDP Partners, Managers and Key External Partners 1st Round=16
2nd Round=11
3rd Round =10
16 37
Interviews with Referral Agents 1st Round =10
2nd Round=45
3rd Round=10
65 65
Bi-monthly catch-ups with the PDP staff 12 x 3 PDAs
plus new PDAs x 2
5 38
Case Study Interviews 6 young people, their parents, PDAs, referrers, activity providers and other 33 27
The Views of Young People 3 discussion groups, 1 in each area; 1 Scottish Power group 19*
PDP Evaluation Workshops 4 workshops
PDP Development Workshops 2 workshops
Statistical Analysis of PDP Quantitative Data 5 overviews
Secondary Analysis of PDP Quarterly Reports; PDP Partner data 3 reports; various partner data
Secondary analysis of other relevant databases e Justice related data sets (juvenile and adult) 2 databases
PDP Database Development 6 meetings
Evaluation Input into PDP Development Plans 2012 4 meetings

1.6 The research literature offers some evidence that participation in recreational activities can contribute to positive outcomes for young people, but this evidence is not straightforward. Attention needs to be paid to the quality, context and appropriateness of the activities. Further, it is important to consider the primary objectives of involving young people in such activities; are the activities diversionary, providing alternative ways for young people to fill their time, do they aim to build skills and enhance protective factors that may reduce risk of anti-social behaviour or are they a 'hook' into other, often more relational, opportunities for personal and social development? (Adamson 2003; Gilligan 2000; Crabbe et al 2006; Mahoney et al 2001). The PDP aims to use the outdoors as a learning environment, helping young people to set their own goals, supporting them through appropriate provision from the partners best suited to their needs, and linking them to external agencies and opportunities. In some senses then, the PDP aimed to address some of the issues highlighted above in the way they delivered the programme.


Email: Ban Cavanagh

Back to top