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Demonstrating the ‘effectiveness’ and impact of services and interventions continues to have great importance to the field, not least due to the ongoing pressure on budgets. Practitioners, service managers, commissioners, evaluators and policy-makers alike will be familiar with the pressing need for evidence concerning the effectiveness of different approaches to inform decision-making at all levels. The Beyond Youth Custody team have developed two complementary briefings that focus on measuring effectiveness specifically for stakeholders involved in the resettlement of young people.

Proving ‘effectiveness’ in resettlement, explores reasons why it is important to prove effectiveness, considers some of the challenges involved, and comments on some of the different ways of measuring service effectiveness.

Resettlement work with young people: using individual case studies to assess costs and benefits provides an in-depth look at how case studies can be used to demonstrate the costs and benefits of resettlement work with young custody-leavers.

Pippa Goodfellow, Beyond Youth Custody Programme Manager, says:

“One of the key messages derived from Beyond Youth Custody’s research has been to describe effective resettlement as ‘a process that enables a shift in a young person’s identity, moving them away from crime towards a positive future’.

“The two briefings released today highlight the need to look beyond criminal justice’s short-term aim of preventing reoffending and think outside of binary reoffending rates as a measure of success. There needs to be a longer term understanding of resettlement as a process promoting desistance, wellbeing and social inclusion, and an acknowledgement that this may involve episodes of relapse as well as progress. Other indicators such as increased confidence, building relationships, employability etc. can indicate the ‘distance travelled’ by a young person as they begin to move away from offending.

“In his interim report of the Youth Justice Review, Charlie Taylor poses questions including, ‘fundamentally, is the system seeking to achieve the right outcomes?’ It will be interesting to see the recommendations that develop in this area and how ‘effectiveness’ will be measured in the future landscape of youth justice.

“In the final year of the programme, the Beyond Youth Custody team will be working with stakeholders to develop a resettlement framework, aiming to provide a useful tool to inform the commissioning and design of services, as well as considering indicators of effectiveness.”