An Evaluation of the Personal Development Partnership

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

From Referral to Engagement

1.34 Of those referred to PDP, 71% (374) had engaged with the service and its programmes by the end of November 2012. This represents a notable improvement on Dec 2011 when 66% (189) engaged with PDP.

1.35 When young people stop attending the programme it can be difficult for PDAs to judge how much to keep chasing them up and when to draw a line under a case, especially given the demands on their workload.

1.36 86 young people did not engage with the project after initial referral. Of these 40 (46%) were young people with a criminal justice involvement (see Table Two). A further 69 young people disengaged or withdrew from the programme before reaching a positive destination. The reasons for disengagement are given below in table 4. The largest categories: those not wanting support any longer and those giving no reason are the main potential areas for increasing the success rates for the programme.

Table 4: Unsuccessful referrals and disengagement from programme

Males Females TOTAL
Unsuccessful referrals:
Did Not Engage on Referral 68 18 86
Inappropriate Referral 16 4 20
TOTAL unsuccessful referrals 84 22 106
Disengagement/withdrawal from programme:
Disengaged from support: Custody/Remand 4 0 4
Disengaged: unable to contact 7 3 10
Disengaged: personal circumstances 2 5 7
Disengaged no reason given 14 4 18
Disengaged: not wanting the support any longer 11 7 18
YP Requested to withdraw
(drug possession at courses)
2 2
YP was Asked to withdraw
(behaviour, or no parental consent)
5 5
Moved Away 3 2 5
TOTAL disengaged/withdrawn 48 21 69
GRAND TOTAL 132 43 175

1.37 Those referring to PDP gave a variety of reasons. Creating motivation, a sense of momentum and a positive outlook was a common reason:

'the [young person] had a lack of motivation and PDP was another way of coming at it...' (Skills Development Scotland referrer)

'he'd been underachieving and although he had been going, he'd been skiving off...he needed something more meaningful.' (Skills Development Scotland)

'the [young person] went from outgoing to scared to leave [parent who was ill]...[PDP could] give [the young person] a bit of independence and me time' (Youth Project)

1.38 Sometimes PDP was seen as a way of getting a young person away from negative influences

'[PDP might help] get something positive as he was running around with a group who were offending, so part diversionary and part new relationships.'(Youth Justice)

1.39 Occasionally it was seen as a route into employment:

'(the young person) left us for child care placement but didn't complete it.. [she/he] needed support with employment and PDA had links with employment agency.' (PDP Partner)

1.40 Referrers saw PDP as an opportunity for young people to develop a better sense of appropriate behaviour and general responsibilities, as a way of gaining social skills or as a way of getting other skills, all of which would make them more employable.

1.41 Referrals agents at two of the hubs noted the impact of staff changes at PDP on communication and their ability to channel referrals. In one hub there was no real surprise that referrals were being put on hold as the referral agents had previously commented on the workloads and difficulties of getting a hold of the PDA. As one respondent put it:

'(the PDA) was very good when you could get (them) but it's been obvious for a while (the PDA) has been under the cosh trying to cope. Hopefully things will improve soon as they are really our main outlet for some of our younger kids.'

1.42 Although PDP had put in place measures to handle the situation in both hubs, it was not always apparent to some referral agents who commented that they only found out the PDA had left when they were referring in. As another referral agent commented:

'I was really disappointed to hear [the PDA] was leaving, we had built up a good working relationship and the young people liked [the PDA]. It's having to build up relations again, it's always the same people moving and we start again!'

1.43 Communication and marketing approaches across the PDP were highlighted in early workshops as crucial for reducing confusion about what the programme would offer and how the partnership worked. In the event this was also slow to get started. There were limited resources for this as extra funds had to be devoted to the rebranding of the programme following the name change (from Junction to PDP in early 2011). Since the appointment of the DM there has been an improvement in the website, with case studies being developed, and in the marketing and reporting from the project.


Email: Ban Cavanagh

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