Day 1: 30th March 2022 | 2.00pm-5.30pm

Time Session
2.00pm Welcome and introduction 
2.05pm KEYNOTE

Evaluation of children’s and youth services: the way forward

The Centre for Youth Impact and NPC published the final report from the largest ever evaluation of open access youth provision in June 2021. The Youth Investment Fund (YIF) Learning Project highlighted the value of approaches to evaluation that align with practice and focus on the relationship between quality and impact.

This session will look at lessons learned from this ground-breaking three-year project and implications for the way forward in evaluating children’s and youth services across all sectors.

It will explore: 

  • the role of common measurement in strengthening our collective understanding of impact
  • the value of different types of data for evaluation
  • the importance of listening to young people and systematic collection of feedback

Bethia McNeil, Chief Executive, Centre for Youth Impact

2.40pm Exhibitor break 


Walking on eggshells: evaluating sensitive or small-scale services

Together for Children works on behalf of Sunderland City Council to deliver children’s services. As part of ongoing efforts to use the experiences of children, young people and families to shape and improve services, it has commissioned several pieces of research by the University of Sunderland to look at what works - even when services are offered to small numbers or are so sensitive in nature that few families are willing to share their stories openly.

Walking On Eggshells - an evaluation of domestic abuse services in Sunderland - is the latest piece of research to come out of this collaboration.

This session will look at:

  • How the evaluation was planned and carried out
  • How the findings will be used to shape services
  • Practical tips on evaluating small-scale yet vital support services

Karen Davison, Director of Early Help, Together for Children Sunderland

Sarah Martin-Denham, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Sunderland



Capturing the long-term impact of Sea Cadets across multiple generations

Last year Sea Cadets launched the findings of the My LegaSea campaign, which explored the impact of being a cadet long after leaving.

This included capturing the experiences of multiple generations of Sea Cadets from the Second World War to the present day.

The research project was designed and guided by academics at Durham University and Goldsmiths University of London, then authored by an independent researcher.

This session will cover:

  • The challenges of capturing reliable data going back decades
  • Data analysis to identify key areas of impact
  • How findings will be used to shape practice in the future

Anna Louise Spencer, Post-graduate Researcher, Goldsmiths, University of London

Tony Jeffs, Honorary Lecturer, Durham University

Veronika Neyer, former Director of Policy and Young People Support, Marine Society and Sea Cadets

Daniel McAllister, Director of Fundraising and Communications, Marine Society and Sea Cadets

4.10pm Break 


Practising power sharing: Evaluating early help with and for the community

Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP) is one of five ‘A Better Start’ partnerships funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, launched with the aim of giving children aged 0-3 a better start in life.

Together with the Dartington Service Design Lab, LEAP has recruited four community researchers living and working in Lambeth to explore and evaluate its services. 

This session will be co-presented by members of the LEAP and Dartington teams as well as two of the community researchers, covering:

  • Why it is important to think differently from traditional extractive research approaches
  • How community participatory research can add depth and quality to evaluation and improvement
  • The learning journey

Catherine-Rose Stocks-Rankin, Acting Scotland Director for Dartington Service Design Lab

Claire Dunne, Evaluation and Research Manager for Lambeth Early Action Partnership
Risikatu Oriole, Anita Kambo, Natoya Whyte and Ela Skowron, community researchers



Measuring soft outcomes

So-called “soft outcomes” may be difficult to measure but are crucial in determining the wellbeing and prospects of children and young people. Capturing soft outcomes is particularly challenging in the arts, where creative projects have the potential to transform lives but can struggle to demonstrate impact.

Creative Futures (UK) is a multi-arts charity that runs initiatives designed to raise aspiration, achievement and self-confidence among young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This includes exploring how projects can successfully demonstrate impact to gain recognition and funding. One of the organisations it works with, West London Zone, helps children and young people build the relationships and skills they need to help them socially, emotionally and academically, and thrive into adulthood.

This session will look at:

  • What are soft outcomes?
  • Ways to measure soft outcomes
  • Pros and cons of different measurement tools
  • A practical example: West London Zone’s approach to measuring social and emotional outcomes

Julian Knight, Creative Director, Creative Futures (UK)

Zoe Mathys, Impact Manager, West London Zone

5.30pm Close of day 1 

Day 2: 31st March 2022 | 2.00pm-5.30pm

Time Sessions
2.00pm Welcome and introduction 


Involving young people in evaluating the impact of the pandemic

Children in Scotland’s ‘Participation Through the Pandemic’ project brought together four peer researchers aged 14 to 21 to explore how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the way children and young people engage with different projects and services.

The project - led by the young people - will produce case studies demonstrating examples of good practice across Scotland and make recommendations for decision-makers and organisations working directly with children and young people. 

This session will explore lessons learned from the project on how to successfully involve young people in evaluation and research. Delegates will also hear from the young people about what it has meant for them to be involved in a long-term research project.


Chris Ross, Senior Policy, Projects and Participation Officer, Children in Scotland, co-presenting with young researchers

2.40pm Exhibitor break 


Listening to, and acting on, data: how findings from a randomised controlled trial informed the delivery of tutoring

Tutor Trust is the only tutoring provider to have participated in a large-scale randomised control trial (RCT) that has shown proven, positive impact. The results of the RCT not only informed the strategy of the organisation over the last four years but also influenced the development of the National Tutoring Programme.

Since the RCT, Tutor Trust has expanded rapidly, doubling delivery during the pandemic. Collecting a broad range of qualitative and quantitative data has enabled the charity to continually refine the quality of tutoring, and support schools in running tutoring programmes with maximum impact.

Hear how the trust has adapted its data collection during the pandemic so it continues to influence tuition and ensure the best outcomes for pupils.


Jenny Muter, Director of Impact, Tutor Trust



Evaluating the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health

In May 2020 the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on children and young people’s mental health was only just starting to become apparent. The Anna Freud Centre’s Evidence Based Practice Unit and the Child Outcomes Research Consortium worked together to gather emerging evidence from across the globe on the extent of the problem.

The final issue of their Emerging Evidence series - published in November 2021 - summarises their findings and sets out recommendations for support services and researchers.

Bringing together diverse sources of evidence around the mental health of children and young people during the pandemic, this session will explore:

  • The key mental health challenges for children and young people during the pandemic including disproportionately affected groups
  • What these findings mean for providers and commissioners of services
  • Areas for further research and evaluation

Dr Melissa Cortina, Senior Research Fellow, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

4.20pm Break 


Evaluate to innovate - why good evaluation is crucial to finding new ways of working in the post-Covid world

The pandemic has had a huge and potentially lasting impact on the lives of all children, young people and families. Now more than ever, we need services that meet their needs and make the most of limited resources. Good evaluation is a key part of the equation. 

In this session, a panel of experts will discuss how effective evaluation can help providers and commissioners identify new and effective solutions to current and emerging challenges.


Professor Janet Boddy, Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth, University of Sussex

Ellen Broome, Managing Director, CoramBAAF and Coram ‚ÄčFamily and Childcare

Matthew Horne, Deputy Chief Executive, Innovation Unit

Jermaine Ravalier, Director of Programmes, What Works for Children’s Social Care


Close of Conference