How can young people in or at risk of custody be supported to build on their strengths, shift their lifestyles and reduce reoffending? Launched on 11th October 2022, the external evaluation of our Enhanced Constructive Resettlement (ECR) pilot project provides learning for the wider sector on the prospects of adopting a collaborative, youth-focused and co-produced approach.
The 2018-2021 ECR project, delivered by New Horizon Youth Centre in partnership with the Camden Youth Offending Service (YOS), aimed to reduce high reoffending rates of young people aged 15-25 in Camden. The project was one of the first to apply a constructive resettlement approach through a local partnership between the voluntary and statutory sectors.
Based on the Youth Justice Model of Constructive Resettlement, ECR’s offer emphasised collaboration with young people to help them define their goals, change their lifestyles and improve their life chances. In practice, this comprised of support through weekly caseworker sessions; engagement and advocacy with the young people’s wider network of professionals; and psychologist input for young people with more complex needs.
To understand the impact of the ECR pilot and identify learning for the wider youth justice sector, New Horizon Youth Centre commissioned Sally Cupitt Consulting to carry out an external evaluation, written by Sally Cupitt, Harriet Pearce Willis and Sarah McCoy, and with a foreword by Lib Peck, Director of Mayor’s Violence Reduction Unit.
The evaluation found that:
- The ECR approach, which was trauma-informed and youth-focused, enabled caseworkers to build and maintain strong relationships with children and young people. Caseworkers were tenacious in maintaining engagement with children and young people in custody and providing regular, non-judgemental support. Engagement was bolstered by caseworkers co-creating sessions with young people, customising them according to their interests and needs.
- ECR successfully contributed to the reduction of reoffending rates of young people. Examining case studies of eight young people involved in the project, there was a reduction in offending for five cases.
- ECR supported young people to change their lifestyles through accessing or better engaging with services, including employment, educational or training courses, leisure opportunities and healthcare.
- The project benefited strongly from a partnership approach and joint working across voluntary and statutory sectors. This in turn drove changes towards more child-centred work, including YOS reporting better youth engagement, and better understanding of the young person’s perspective in their wider professional networks
- The ECR model is economically viable, as the project cost-benefit analysis shows that it creates more value than the costs despite the seemingly small cohort of children and young people supported
- Factors of replications and scaling up are dependent on e.g. the nature of local need and service context, existing local partnership working and the local socio-political context.
For more details on the findings, please read the full report or executive summary.
For further information about the project, please contact [email protected]