Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers
Rob Bell, Martin Brookes, Bill Eyres and Louise Savell
30 March 2011
Q303 Chair: Good morning. Thank
you very much for joining us today. You are all external observers,
so how efficient are youth services in terms of both obtaining
and spending funding? Does anyone have any thoughts on that? Rob
is looking down; I will pick on him.
Rob Bell: May I offer you our
snapshot of this world? We have funding relationships with some
450 organisations. In my programme there are 130 grantees, with
the large majority involved in this area. Among them there is
a strong appetite to be very good at understanding the impact
they make. They sometimes lack the tools and resources to be able
to do that as well as they like. What we see among the grantees
is fairly economic, lean and effective practice, combininglinking
back to the previous discussionyouth work with volunteering
and, increasingly, with young people themselves acting as peer
support. On how organisations practice, I would say they are effective.
We are not a typical, mass market grant maker. We have fewer relationships
than many of our peers, and they tend to be for larger grants
to newer organisations for longer periods of time. We may fund
up to five or six years.
Q304 Chair: Thank you. Does anyone
disagree or take issue with what Rob has said?
Martin Brookes: I will take slight
issue with it. I am sure that Rob is right about the grantees
that he works with at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. We analyse charities
and provide advice to funders and to charities themselves. In
our experience of the sector, fewer than we would expect and hope
can evidence their work, and those that can really stand out and
are exceptional. We tend to pick those as our poster children.
There is, however, a dearth of evidence in this sector, which
mirrors the whole of the voluntary sector. It is not particularly
pronounced here; it is a wider problem.
Louise Savell: I will add that,
from a social investment perspective, which is where we come from
at Social Finance, there is a general lack of understanding among
many youth sector organisations on the potential options in terms
of non-grant finance, which might be available to them through
loans, equity and equity-like finance. If social investment were
to realise its potential for the sector, there might need to be
some support to develop the demand side for the availability of
Q305 Craig Whittaker: Martin,
I wonder whether I can tap you for a minute on the new philanthropy
capital. You have said that the charities are entering a maelstrom
and will need support from other funders to weather the storm.
Who are these other funders, and what strong protection can they
Martin Brookes: Whoever the other
funders are, they can't provide enough protection, because the
scale of the cuts that a lot of organisations are facing is just
too acute. The other funders might be foundations or trusts, such
as the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, or they might be private donors.
Neither of those sources of funding is big enough. They could
also be social investors, but that is too nascent a market to
be able to step in and plug the gap. Private donations have been
more or less stagnant as a share of GDP for the past 30 or 40
years. For much of that period, there has been a decline in the
number of donors, as well, which may have arrested things. But
it's quite difficult to see how you could quickly and markedly
increase private donations from about 0.75% of GDP, which is about
£10.5 billion, when you may be facing anything up to £5
billion of cuts. Foundations give a shade under £3 billion
a year. It's very hard to see how that can be scaled up, particularly
for those that are endowed and want to protect their endowment.
There is a question whether some foundations should behave as
endowments, and they may want to spend down, but that's not going
to happen quickly, and the scale of the resources available varies.
Charities will really struggle to deal with that maelstrom. Many
will faceindeed many are facingserious cutbacks
in funding and services as a result.
Q306 Craig Whittaker: To what
extent will they chose to fund previously funded Government projects
on the whole?
Martin Brookes: If you talk to
private donors, they will typically say, "I don't like to
step in where the Government have a responsibility," but
the boundaries as to where the Government have a responsibility
are very fuzzy, and, in practice, many private donors will step
in. They don't want to step in without a clear exit strategyparticularly
wealthy donorsand they don't want to plug a gap indefinitely,
but if they can provide some bridging finance and see that the
organisation has a plan to supplement and replace Government funding,
they are more inclined to get involved. So they will say one thingthat
they don't want to do thisbut they will often step in.
However, to get access to that money, you need the contacts, and
a lot of organisations simply don't have the right contacts or
the right fundraising capacity. There hasn't been good investment
in the last decade or more in fundraising quality. If you want
to access wealthy donors, in particular, and you are a small youth
charity, it's very hard to do that without knowing where to begin.
Q307 Craig Whittaker: Are you
saying that various businesses already exercise their corporate
social responsibility as they should, or do you think they can
step up to the mark more?
Martin Brookes: I deliberately
left out businesses as a funding route, because corporate funding
of charities directly is pretty weak and it is declining. It gets
increasingly tied in with marketing, rather than with genuine
philanthropy. A serious question could be asked of corporates,
but it's not reasonable at the moment, given the way they've behaved
in the past decade or more, to expect them to plug the gap. Whether
they should, in terms of a duty, is a different question, but
it is very unlikely that they will.
Q308 Craig Whittaker: Can I ask
you all whether charities and philanthropic donors are more likely
to invest in projects targeting young people at risk, rather than
in open-access provision on things such as youth centres?
Bill Eyres: At O2, we've tried
to do both. The core of the Think Big programme is about giving
young people who have got ideas for making change in their communities
money, training and other support to make a difference. The way
we split the scheme is that roughly 40% is open access. As to
the other proportion, we work with around 35 national and local
youth charities to refer young people through who come from more
disadvantaged, vulnerable situations. We have very much taken
a mixed approach in terms of how we manage that. We work with
Teesside University to analyse the data on all the young people
who come through. The interesting thing is that the young people
who have come through the direct-access scheme, which you apply
for through the website, come from some of the most deprived areas
in the UK. Interestingly, the targeting of open access and the
work we're doing with charities is getting through to the most
disadvantaged young people.
Rob Bell: We don't have a policy
line on this, but we tend to fund what other witnesses have called
a universal progressive approach. That is not a fudged compromise
answer, because what goes on is really important. We tend to fund
work that allows young people to engage with organisations. "Engagement"
is a loaded term. What "engagement" implies is an experience
that captures young people's interest and attention, that is profound
and long lasting and that involves building up relationships.
It also implies that there are routes from that experience into
a much more engaged level of support, including referral to external
organisations. A typical grant for us would have that sort of
approach, where young people can progress, stay attached to the
organisation and, if it is needed, get more specialist help, whether
it is mentoring, support or referral.
Martin Brookes: The sort of private
donors whom we work with and advise are typically those who are
looking for impacts, are quite happy to be working with youth
at risk and would prefer doing that kind of thing.
Louise Savell: Generally speaking,
we see more demand among investors to work with the harder-to-reach
groups than to fund generic open access services. At the point
where you start looking at outcome-based payments of services
and financing for that kind of contract, the reality is that while
it is lovely to open up services to anyone who might want to go,
in terms of the real public benefit, it comes at the more disadvantaged
end of the spectrum. The reality is there is a question for Government
at that point as to what they are prepared to pay for.
Q309 Craig Whittaker: Can I ask
Rob Bell what programmes for young people remain for both O2 and
the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to invest in? What are the budgets?
Rob Bell: I manage one of four
programmes at the Hamlyn Foundation. We spend around £3 million
a year on responsive grant making. We are interested in the most
disadvantaged and marginalised young people.
Q310 Craig Whittaker: Is that
£3 million just your pot?
Rob Bell: It's my pot. As a foundation,
we are in the middle of a six-year strategy, and we aim to average
a £20 million spend a year with the majority in the UK and
a smaller amount in India. I have £3 million a year, and
we typically make 30 grants a year. We have 140 relationships
with grantees and tend to fund for two or three years upwards.
Bill Eyres: When we launched the
programme last year, the initial commitment was to spend £5
million over three years. This year, we have raised our spend
to £2 million and extended our commitment to 2015. That is
not just in the UK, but in other places where O2 operates, which
are Germany, Ireland, Slovakia and Czech Republic.
We believe passionately that it is about not
only the money that we spend directly on the programme, but how
we leverage in the skills of the business to work in partnership
with our charities, the National Youth Agency and two other charity
partners. For example, we have around 2,000 O2 people who volunteer.
We are training O2 people to mentor young people's projects, so
this year, we are aiming to give backing and support to 900 projects
that young people run.
We also have a second, higher level of support,
which involves up to £2,500 for the young people, who also
get intensive training. We have been piloting that training this
year, and we have some of the most senior people in O2 going in
and working with, training and developing young people. I think
a lot of the spectrum should not be just on the money that goes
into the charity partnership, but on what the business can bring
in added value that is powerful.
Q311 Craig Whittaker: What do
you think the Government and commissioners can learn from O2's
practice of putting funds directly into the hands of young people?
Bill Eyres: Our approach is that
we believe in young people. Initially, we worked with a whole
range of customer groups to find out the community issue that
they were most concerned about. The issue that they were most
concerned about, from young families through to silver surfers,
was young people becoming disconnected from their communities.
There was a real passion to make a difference. When we then analysed
it and worked with a range of different NGOs, the thing that we
needed to do was empower young people who were making a difference
at the community level. Social action is about getting money and
support into the hands of young people at the grass roots. Some
of the work that we did, for example, with New Philanthropy Capital
on one of the first young people we had through the scheme showed
a social return on investment of about 10 times what we had invested
in that young person. That is the learning.
Secondly, there tends to be a purchaser-provider
split, so we take a partnership approach with the National Youth
Agency, UK Youth and the Conservation Foundation. We do not look
at matters in terms of providers and purchasers, where we hand
over the money and do not think about it again. We work very closely
Q312 Craig Whittaker: A 10-times
return is a pretty good return. How does that compare with what
we currently get from the system? Does anyone know?
Martin Brookes: There are no great
numbers on what can be got from the system, but it is not unusual
for good interventions to give that sort of return. Those returns
tend to be spread across various spending agencies and they are
hard to consolidate, which is one of the issues with designing
payment by results contracts. It is a nice return, but it is
not an unusual return.
Q313 Neil Carmichael: Social investment
and measuring outcomes is obviously an important area. Louise,
do you think social impact bonds should be specifically targeted
at certain things?
Louise Savell: Are people familiar
with social impact bonds as a concept? Would it be helpful to
give a quick background?
Neil Carmichael: I do not know.
Chair: If you can do that succinctly,
Louise Savell: I shall do my best.
It is a challenge. Social impact bonds are essentially a financing
mechanism that sits behind an outcome-based contract. The Government
pay for what works, while investment is raised to pay for services
that are provided up front on the basis that investments are repaid
in line with the extent to which the outcomes that are targeted
improve. That is broadly how they work.
Q314 Damian Hinds: Can you say
the first bit again, Louise?
Louise Savell: The Government
only pay for success. Essentially, improvements in the outcome
trigger payment rather than traditional mechanisms of funding
when revenue is provided up front. In many ways, the services
offer good potential for social impact bonds. There are a range
of experienced, high quality service providers in the sector.
It is fairly well documented that, when youth services do not
work or when youth services are not provided and youth unemployment,
teen pregnancy and antisocial behaviour are high, there is a significant
social consequence and public cost. All that stands in favour
of outcome-based financing.
The matter is potentially tricky, as Martin
has said, in terms of who pays for success. When we look at where
the outcomes and benefits to the public sector accrue from improved
youth outcomes, there are potential benefits to the Department
for Work and Pensions of reduced benefit usage, increased tax
take and to the health sector of reducing teen pregnancy and mental
health issues, as well as to the Department for Education. The
benefits are spread around the Government. There is a real question
around if you were to use an outcome-based measure in the space,
who would pay for outcomes?
Q315 Chair: The Treasury is the
only answer to that. It would have to buy in, would it not? You
need to convince it that it would genuinely see the savings in
those Departments later on, and that it would be able to harvest
Louise Savell: Quite. There is
certainly a role for central Government in pulling together funding
strands from different Departments.
The other element when thinking about social
impact bonds is whether enough is known about what works. The
measurement of the outcomes themselves is not that difficult,
so we could identify three or four outcomes that generate a public
benefit or are tied to public sector savings either in the short
or long term, such as youth employment, reducing teen pregnancy,
improved outcomes and so on. Martin may have something to add,
but where the challenge comes is whether sufficient data exist
between specific interventions and their impact on those outcomes
to build a robust investment case that would give investors sufficient
confidence to put their money behind it.
Q316 Neil Carmichael: Your answer
basically is that they are very good for a lot of Department areas,
but you would not necessarily have a generic approach.
Louise Savell: It's interesting,
isn't it? If you look at where there are data between interventions
and outcomes, I think the two areas where the link is strongest
are around youth employment and reduced offending. However, when
you talk to the people in the sector, youth service providers
such as Catch22 and others, feel very strongly, and I can totally
see where they are coming from, that simply providing an intervention
that addresses a single behaviour often doesn't address the entire
set of issues for a young person and get to the roots. Potentially
there is a quite interesting model for the youth sector in saying,
"Address the needs of the individual, but perhaps target
toward geographic areas where there are significant inequalities
of outcomes, rather than specific issue areas, and then measure
perhaps two or three outcomes that would demonstrate real success."
Q317 Neil Carmichael: This question
about measurement is really important, isn't it? Are we thinking
about the number of people who go through a door into a facilitywhich
is one way of measuringor the assessment of improvement
in quality of life, and so on? We need to know what measuring
system we are going to use and how effective it will be. Can you
comment on that?
Louise Savell: To a certain extent,
I think that it largely depends on what the organisation or entity
putting up the success payments is prepared to pay for. If the
Government were sufficiently convinced that the number of heads
coming through the door of a particular youth centre, or the number
of individuals who were provided with a certain literacy course,
was indicative of future benefit to the public sector, then arguably
they would be prepared to pay for it. My guess is that they probably
would not. They would probably be more likely to pay for reduced
youth unemployment, improved school outcomes and reduced antisocial
behaviourareas where there are real, tangible links to
public sector budgets that could potentially be cash. But it's
up for discussion, I think.
Q318 Neil Carmichael: The obvious
problem is that a lot of the social impacts one would want to
achieve involve stopping things happening, so let us examine that.
On, for example, pregnancy, are we suggesting that people who
are not pregnant by the time they are 18, let's say, pop in for
a payment? It is a ridiculous concept put like that, but it relates
to the issue of things not happening.
Louise Savell: Absolutely. Demonstrating
a counter-factualthat if you hadn't done something then
there would have been a negative consequenceis the key
challenge, I think.
Q319 Chair: What recommendations
would you make Louise? We take evidence and then write reports.
We make recommendations, and the Government have to respond. So
we are trying to not only have a greater understanding, but to
then make recommendations on concrete actions that make better
outcomes more likely. At least, we hope that that will happen.
Louise Savell: There are a number
of considerations when you think about outcome metrics in the
youth space. The main one is what your baseline is going to be.
You could look at a cohort baseline for that particular area,
where I think there are particular challenges around the cuts
that are happening, and question marks would have to be raised
around whether a baseline based on historical precedent is really
valid. Alternatively, you could look to benchmark against other
geographic areas, which would have its own challenges. In Peterborough,
we are matching every individual in our target cohort who is leaving
prison with 10 other individuals, matched according to demographics
and offending history from the police national computer. That
is a very carefully linked one. Around teen pregnancy that gets
harder, because they presumably have no history of getting pregnant.
Q320 Neil Carmichael: The Ministry
of Justice is going down that route, isn't it? That is slightly
easier, because something has already happenedthe person
has been in prison, so the idea is to stop them going again. You
know that you are dealing with somebody who has already had difficulties.
Perhaps that needs to be factored in.
Since we are short of time I shall move on to
my next question, which is to Rob. What kind of criteria do you
use for the allocation of your money, in the context of measurement,
and so forth that I have been discussing with Louise?
Rob Bell: We have very specific
criteria. We are interested in organisations that work with the
most marginalised. These are often the sort of young people with
whom attempting to work to generate any sort of positive outcome
is expensive and complicated. It is sometimes difficult for organisations
to work with those young people with statutory money, because
it's much more difficult and time-consuming to show outcomes.
We work in that area of this overall picture. We are interested
in organisations that try to innovate, to develop or transplant
ideas and make them work successfully in practice. We work with
organisations that are willing to develop some sort of metrics
to show success. Crucially, we want to
Q321 Chair: You wouldn't invest
unless they were committed to that, and you would always set out
to show that
Rob Bell: We would. Where we startedwhere
Martin and I slightly disagreedis that I think organisations
have an appetite to do that, but lack the capacity, skills and
resources. Organisations such as the NPC help them with that.
Funders canand, increasingly, we willcompartmentalise
grants so that parts of them are on research and evaluation, and
often a bit on business development. We do as much as we can to
help them understand
Q322 Chair: How much does that
cost? One of the issues when you talk to people is that you want
to lambast them for not coming forward with better evidence of
the impact, but when you look at the mechanics of what they have
to do in a small organisation, it looks terribly expensive in
relation to what they're trying to do. Have you found ways of
doing it cost-effectively and not too obtrusively?
Rob Bell: We have developed some
work which Martin might want to outline, but as a rule of thumb,
we would always make sure there was some evaluation element within
anything we fund, and we'd prefer it to be independent. We broadly
follow a sort of civil service model, so it's around 5% or maybe
up to 10%, depending on the case. We always make sure there's
some resource to do this work.
Q323 Neil Carmichael: So you're
really keen to establish a dialogue, aren't you? That must help
us to frame the ways in which you are measuring things, and it's
going to be easy, too, to consider impact later.
Rob Bell: Yes. The challenging
thing as a funder with a cohort of grantsevery organisation
is in a similar positionis that what you end up with is
a story that says a certain percentage of organisations achieve
the outcomes we agreed and others fail, but they don't necessarily
stack up to the same sorts of outcomes. There are different approaches
to measuring change, and different types of measure.
Martin Brookes: A calculation
like that 10:1 social return on investment can be quite expensive
and time-consuming. It usually costs tens of thousands of pounds
to do a bespoke calculation like that for an organisation, which
is prohibitively expensive for many organisations. The prize,
I think, is to get to the point where there are off-the-shelf
methods that a charity can just buy in cheaply. The thing that
we've developed and rolled out with Rob's support is measuring
well-being and different aspects of teenagers' happiness. That
we can apply for about £300
Chair: We will come to that, I hope.
Martin Brookes: Right. So proper
social return on investment is an expensive, time-consuming and
resource-intensive process. The original research on the social
impact, or one of the inputs into that, cost, in cash terms, about
£30,000. Had St Giles Trust had to pay for it, it would have
cost them about £70,000. That's a lot of money up front to
pay for suits and accountants.
Q324 Neil Carmichael: The NPC
has commented that results in the sector are hard to materialise
and measure. Do you think that this is something that might distract
or discourage people from getting involved in investing?
Martin Brookes: It shouldn't do,
and I think smart and intelligent funders, like the Paul Hamlyn
Foundation, O2 and others get that. The results can take time
to materialise, and there's a clear and interesting pattern about
how results can dip after a few months of engagement with children
before they really show a benefit. That's quite difficult to get
your head around. I don't think it's particularly complicated
for donors or investorshowever they regard themselvesto
understand, and I don't think it should be a factor that inhibits
them. I think the lack of evidencethe inability to evidence
what you do and say, "Here is how it is. It's a bit more
complicated than a straight line, but there is evidence of it",
rather than being able to say, "Instinctively, we know we're
helping children"is more of an inhibiting factor.
With a larger social programme, such as that that we are running,
our view has definitely been that if you are going to manage it
effectively, you have to measure, so we work with Teesside University
on a wide range of different measures.
Q325 Chair: How much do you spend
Bill Eyres: We spend between 5%
and 10% of our budget, which is in line with what Rob is saying.
It is the right principlewe find that Teesside University
provides very valuable feedback on how we can develop the programme
to be more effective because they are constantly measuring it
with young people. It is non-negotiable, and it is critical that
you are measuring. I agree with Martin that you have to develop
suitable mechanisms for charities with smaller budgets, but it
is still a key principle that it has to be a non-negotiable part
of your programme.
Q326 Neil Carmichael: Do you think
that the commitment from a charity or a trust is different from
that of Government, in terms of funding and length of commitment?
Why is that, if it is the case?
Rob Bell: I guess that statutory
funding has different imperatives behind it and different lines
of accountability and a large part of that is around service delivery.
We are not quite in the same space; at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation,
we look at organisational integrity and viability and those sorts
of things. In part, we support projects that we think are innovative
and may lead to more sustainable funding streams, but we also
help in a small way, sometimes through extra help, non-monetary
assistance or bringing in external people to build capacity for
the organisation to compete more effectively.
Q327 Damian Hinds: I hope that
one area we will focus on in the report of this inquiry will be
about how you can fund thingsthe extent to which you can
do payment by results and the extent to which you can use these
new financial instruments, such as social impact bonds. I want
to put a hypothesis to you, because I am sceptical whether it
works in the area we are talking about. I wish it did, but I am
worried that it just can't. I have scribbled down six challenges,
the first four of which strike me as central to any payment-by-results
scheme and a further two if you start introducing social impact
The first is the difficulty in defining the
audience, especially when people may drift in and out of it. The
second is isolating the impact of any particular intervention
that a service might do when lots of things are happening in these
people's lives. The third is identifying a control group to compare
that impact against. The fourth is having measures of success,
particularly in the interimwe may be able to project that
over a person's lifetime, although there are all sorts of effects,
but what is the measure in a definable, realistic time frame?
Those first four, I suggest, apply to any payment-by-results scheme
and a further two seem to me to be added when you introduce social
impact bonds. The first of those is the fact that savings come
from many different budgets and there is a danger with that of
double counting. Fourth is that
Damian Hinds: I am so sorryI got
carried away. The sixth, or second, depending on which list we
are counting onand if you take one from the other, you
will get fourthis that savings are a cash flow over a very
long time horizon, so even if savings are made, they may be made
in 15 or 20 years' time, when there has been two or three changes
of Government. I realise that this does not follow the pattern
of what we would normally count as a question to the panel, but
I wanted to put that analysis. Are the big challenges more or
less right? Does that analysis suggest that, in something such
as youth work, you are at the extreme end of challenging in making
payment by results and, particularly, social impact bonds work?
Chair: Does that analysis prompt the
question that it shouldn't be at the youth work level that you
have payment by results, but somewhere further upthe local
authority might have a payment-by-results model and within that,
in order to deliver a broader range of indicators, they have confidence,
they have metrics, but they will invest because they think it
will help them deliver? That is my way of answering that, instead
of letting you do it.
Louise Savell: Yes; I think that
you are absolutely right. My instinct is that if payment by results
is going to work in this sector, it would be by funding a number
of different interventions and organisations and bringing those
organisations together to deliver impact at a wider area than
the audience that one particular service may be reaching. You
have probably identified the six main challenges. To be honest,
the control group issue can probably be worked around by using
cohorts and finding comparator areas. I think that the measures
of success are probably interim measures of success, which would
be linked to current and future value to the public sector.
Q328 Damian Hinds: Are there reliable
or at least reasonably reliable predictors? Let us take an extreme
case. You have a sort of ne'er-do-well, who eventually will turn
into a loving father, holding down a job, contributing greatly
to society and all the rest of it. In an ideal world, you can
spot something at the age of 16 that predicts that. I realise
that you will never get to that extreme. But how good are those
interim measures? Or what are they?
Chair: We don't have time for that. We'll
have to stick to the issue.
Louise Savell: Maybe we can talk
offline about that.
The bigger question is who pays from the public
sector? And then there is the cash-flow issue. You are absolutely
right. For a social impact bond model, that is a real question
and it links to the measures of success, because what you might
be saying is that an interim metric is needed as the trigger for
payment, in order to bring investors in within a reasonable time
frame, but the public sector will have to take a view as to whether
it is confident enough about future cash flows to pay on that
Rob Bell: Can I add a comment
about this social impact bond? Young people have holistic needs,
which you have heard about. Those needs vary over time, and they
are interrelated. I think that these bonds are very useful in
some respects, and if they are effective they ought to generate
more cash for organisations to do the work that they are doing.
However, there is a real danger that you see the bond as a disciplinary
tool, so it enhances the performances of organisations that are
not performing effectively enough at the moment. It's not necessarily
the case that that follows on, because all sorts of different
types of funding help organisations to do what they do very well.
A social impact bond, by its very nature, does not necessarily
make an organisation transform its work to be more effective.
Lots of our grantees recognise that they do
some things particularly well. They help young people in some
aspects of their lives very well, and they would like to be able
to focus on that work and partner up more with other organisations
in their local area, so that young people get a better service
as they move between different types of specialist support. That
can be done through more enlightened funding or by loosening up
funding strictures to allow organisations to practise in that
way. Many of them talk about it as "network delivery".
Damian Hinds: I think that politicians
quite often get excitedI get excitedabout the potential
of social impact bonds, where we think they can work. I am not
so excited about them in terms of forcing improvement, although
it is a great thing if they can do that as well, but more in terms
of the reallocation of funding. That means that you have, somewhat
away from the politics, a group of very bright people deciding
where social finance is best invested, going after those things
that deliver the best returns. That is actually very interesting.
Chair: This is going to make a great
Damian Hinds: I am so sorry, Chair. I
will stop now.
Q329 Tessa Munt: I just want to
clarify something. Rob, you were talking about the 5% check, which
I absolutely understand. That is a drill-down exercise to check
thoroughly that everything is working in the way that you thought
it would. You said something different, that it was 5% of your
expenditureor whateverthat probably went on evaluation.
What percentage of activity does that interrogate?
Bill Eyres: That covers all the
young people who go through the programme.
Q330 Tessa Munt: Do you evaluate
everything in depth?
Bill Eyres: Yes. It includes a
range of different things. So there are quantitative measures
on the projects and there is the number of young people involved.
However, there is also more qualitative stuff about where the
young people were in terms of confidence and skills at the beginning
of the project, and where they ended up. In addition, we measure
community impact and we look at the impact for our O2
volunteers, who are a part of the scheme. It is quite an intense
Q331 Chair: We are obviously interested
in the measurement, in order that the case can be made. We would
be very grateful if you could produce a short note on what you
do and how you do it. That obviously goes for you too, Louise.
Q332 Pat Glass: Louise, has the
investment in the first bonds come from corporate sources or charitable
Louise Savell: For investment
in the social impact bond, we had 17 investors. They were a mix
of individuals of high net worth, and charitable trusts and foundations,
Pat Glass: Sorry. Could you say that
again? You went very quickly.
Louise Savell: Sorry. There was
a mix of individuals of high net worth
Martin Brookes: Rich people.
Louise Savell: Rich people, yesI
was trying to avoid thatand charitable trusts and foundations.
Q333 Pat Glass: The balance within
those 17 investors?
Louise Savell: The balance is
towards charitable trusts and foundations.
Pat Glass: A couple of rich people and
a lot of charities.
Louise Savell: Four or five, and
then some charitable trusts and foundations, of which, I should
say, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation is one.
Rob Bell: A junior partner.
Q334 Pat Glass: Very briefly,
Rob and Martin, can you explain to me the well-being index that
you are developing? Would it be useful in something like youth
services, and how is it different from what is already out there?
Rob Bell: Martin is the best technician
around this. I can say why we're interested in it and why we've
tried to help.
Martin Brookes: To preface it,
one of the things about payment by results and social impact bonds
that I am uneasy about is that they basically value things that
you can put a monetary value on. There are lots of aspects of
a child's life that are about self-esteem, well-being and resilience,
and that don't necessarily deliver a financial value or saving
to the public purse, but are things that we want to improve for
We spent more than two years developing a simple,
off-the-shelf tool that charities and schools can use to assess
and track the different aspects of a child's well-being. It has
been piloted with charities such as Barnardo's, and a whole bunch
of schools. It looks at things such as resilience, self-esteem,
and so on, in a very rigorous and robust way that is also very
practicable for organisations to do. It is now going online with
support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. We are going to roll
this out across whoever wants it, basically.
We think it addresses very clearly the problem
of how expensive it can be for organisations to invest in evaluation
and measurement. It provides a method that can be used and applied
consistently across organisations, so you could do comparisons.
I would say that it is very relevant to the sector, and lots of
charities that we have worked with in developing it are in that
field. It was very expensive to develop though, but the marginal
cost to then roll it out is tiny.
Q335 Chair: Can you spell out
a little bit more about the substance of it?
Martin Brookes: It is literally
a series of questions that takes a bunch of scales that have been
used and developed by psychologists and psychiatrists over the
years, which are all very academically rigorous, and distils them
into a 10 to 15-minute questionnaire for children to answer. It
is about how they feel about different thingstheir friends,
families, themselves, their sense of self-worth, and so on. It
has now been road-tested with thousands of children to check that
it is robust and works. We ran focus groups on language and so
on, so it is a very good, solid, reliable and robust tool, because
we were able to put a lot of investment into it up front.
The return from that is that we can roll it
out and get charities, youth groups and others to use it, and
to take a temperature check on whether they are really helping
children. For example, a charity that takes children on an Outward
Bound course can work out whether it is really having an impact.
That is a fairly light-touch intervention. A charity that works
in depth with children over many months, with youth workers, can
also work out whether it is helping, and they can compare themselves
across organisations too. That is quite an important thing to
Q336 Pat Glass: It's online now?
Martin Brookes: It's online in
a sort of hidden location at the moment. I would be very happy
to send you some more information about it. There are charities
using it now, and we are starting to talk to others who may then
take it on. We'll roll it out much more widely later this year
with the support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and others who
invest in us.
Q337 Pat Glass: My background
is in education, and for years I have worked with people who have
said, "You cannot possibly measure the cost of our intervention."
How will you get things like the youth and education services,
who are not keen on outcomes-based measures, to pick this up and
Martin Brookes: I think we will
say to them that it has been developed with teachers, schools
and charities. It has input from them, and children themselves.
It is very academically rigorous. You may object to outcomes-based
stuff because it distorts what you do, or because it only values
things you can put a monetary value on. However, if you care about
tracking the self-esteem of your children and whether you are
improving their resilience, whether their sense of their relationships
with their family and community are improving
Chair: Every loving parent should be
applying your well-being test, and the more regularly they do
it the more loving they are.
Martin Brookes: For various technical
reasons it is not really applicable to individual children. You
have to group children to get meaningful results. Every teacher,
every head teacher or every charity working with children who
cares about those aspects
Q338 Chair: The Prime Minister
has often talked about general well-being as opposed to national
wealth as being of value. Should we have that in the league tables?
There is the English Bac and every other faddish new measure of
the Government, but should we also have the well-being of the
Martin Brookes: One of the things
that Ofsted is supposed to assess schools on is well-being. If
you look at the way it does that, it is more about child protection
than genuinely about well-being. Child protection is important,
but there is a whole aspect about the well-being of the school.
Charities that use it in schools as well as schools themselves
say that it gives them useful data on how well they are doing.
Q339 Chair: All too often people
talk about childhood and young people purely in instrumental terms
about what they will do later. It is today that counts.
Martin Brookes: This asks they
how they feel in a proper way.
Q340 Pat Glass: Would this tool
identify for Ofsted or for parents a school that is seemingly
high achieving but which has an almost endemic bullying culture
from the staff to the children?
Martin Brookes: Yes, and we have
used it directly with charities that address bullying.
Q341 Pat Glass: Send me the details
Martin Brookes: We have applied
it in one school where it was pretty clear that the children had
good self esteem, it was a really good school and the charity
did not need to be there so it pulled out.
Rob Bell: It has a diagnostic
function so it lets organisations look more closely at where there
may be something working well. Then there is another task which
is to go in and explore more closely and how they respond to that
Chair: Thank you very much. Because I
am too indulgent I will give Damian one last question.
Q342 Damian Hinds: The tool sounds
very interesting and useful. May I ask two quick questions about
it? First, what is its academic provenance and has it been peer
reviewed, tested and kicked around internationally as well as
in this country? Secondly, why has nobody else mentioned it to
Martin Brookes: I cannot answer
the latter question. It has had an academic panel and steering
group assess it. It has been rigorously peer reviewed. All of
the questions come from existing measures. That is a crucial part
of this. It distils all the very well developed academic measures
that are difficult to apply in a school setting or a charity and
tests whether you are taking enough elements of each to get sensible
answers. There has been about £100,000 of development work
and two to three years in development. I don't know why no one
has mentioned it to you. Perhaps it is because we are deliberately
not marketing it. This is the first time that we are talking about
it fairly publicly, but people like Rob and others know about
Rob Bell: At some point we and
other funders would like to be able to say, "We would like
you to use this tool if it is helpful to you", and they may
use it alongside other measures around more material outcomes.
We would like to be able to offer that and we think it offers
good value and could become self-financing.
Martin Brookes: If you want, I
am happy to do you a brief note on it.
Q343 Chair: Thank you very much
indeed. Thank you all for giving us evidence this morning. It
has been most useful.