The Social Switch Project is an innovative project that aims to switch the narrative on how social media’s relationship to youth violence is understood, tackled and solved. It is co-delivered by social business Catch22 and youth violence charity Redthread, and received its initial funding from Google.org. It has three core activities: training professionals working with young people to deal with the challenges of online behaviour; training young people as social media managers and providing intensive career support post-programme; and funding grassroots projects across London which support and engage young people. The Social Switch Project commissioned NPC as their evaluation partner to help them develop their skills, to support with their evaluation design and data collection, to independently capture impact and, most of all, to help ensure the programme was run as effectively as possible.
First, we worked closely with their programme manager to create clear theories of change for each strand of the project. Next, we worked together to prioritise key feedback indicators, outcomes, and a plan to build a robust and goal-driven measurement framework. Importantly, we co-designed the measurement approach with the programme manager to ensure it was easy for the delivery team to implement and easy for participants to take part in. We employed mixed methods, including quantitative before and after surveys, qualitative interviews, and observations, to provide a reliable understanding of the project’s outcomes. We collected and regularly fed back the data to allow the programme to be refined. Our collection and analysis were all going smoothly when Covid-19 forced the project, which had previously been delivering face to face, to switch to digital delivery. Here, NPC helped The Social Switch Project to pivot their evaluation approach and to quickly analyse some data on how well their new digital delivery was working, so that it could inform continual rollout. We collated our findings and contributed to two impact reports.
The Social Switch Project found the process helpful and the theories of change and measurement framework gave them clarity and focus on what they needed to achieve, even through considerable disruption. We found that The Social Switch Project was successful, meeting its intended goals across the training elements of the project (evaluation for the funding element is still pending). The programme was found to be so successful and well evidenced that the Mayor of London and its Violence Reduction Unit is now supporting the next phase of the programme, supporting their work to divert at-risk youths towards fulfilling digital careers. NPC is pleased to have been commissioned as the evaluation partner for this next phase of the programme.