Impact measurement in youth justice

Charities working in the field of youth justice have good reason to take impact meaurement seriously. Many of these charities receive a very high proportion of their funding from statutory sources – 78% of Nacro’s funding and 89% of Catch-22’s funding come from the government – and in the face of budget cuts it is more vital than ever for them to prove their approach works.

This report is part of NPC’s Measuring together series which aims to help charities to overcome barriers to impact reporting by working together and sharing methods and approaches. Most youth justice charities aim to reduce re-offending and agree that this is the outcome they need to measure. But they also need to consider interim outcomes, such as improved relationships or gained qualifications, on the path to understanding what works.

The report includes recommendations for improving impact measurement in the youth justice sector. Charities can collect data from the young people they work with, and work closely with other charities to coordinate measurement efforts. Funders need to invest in charities that measure their results. And the government needs to make it easier for charities to access the data they need to measure successfully.

 One day we’ll look back with bemusement at the fact that charities used to have to work out how to measure their results from scratch, competing to develop the best measurement framework which they would jealously guard.

Tris Lumley, report author