ICRD staff are evaluating Birmingham Youth Offending Service’s music programme. Funded by Youth Music & Birmingham City Council, this evaluation used a mixed-methods approach, collecting statistical data on sentence compliance matched against a control group, measures of resilience, self-efficacy, musical development, attitudes and behaviour, and wellbeing. This was complemented by in-depth interviews conducted with participants and professionals to understand their experiences and needs.
ICRD worked with Wolverhampton City Council to provide a review of youth unemployment in the city. This was prompted, in part, by evidence highlighting the city’s high level of youth unemployment and the ongoing receipt of Impact funding in the city to address youth unemployment. Within tight timescales, the subsequent report used some interviews and meetings alongside review of existing data to highlight challenges and barriers that need to be addressed to tackle youth unemployment. The report was produced to complement existing statistical evidence already collected by the city council as part of the Impact programme’s monitoring.
Heart of England Community Foundation research
Heart of England (HoE) Community Foundation distributes significant amounts of charitable funding across the Midlands to a diverse range of organisations. The funding includes money from sources such as Comic Relief and the Big Lottery. HoE commissioned the university to carry out research and produce a report identifying needs and challenges in Birmingham and the Black Country. The report, to be completed October 2017, uses data sources to map needs and make recommendations, and will be used by HoE to inform how they distribute funding in a more strategic manner. The report has been produced in a collaborative manner that has included, in addition to meeting with HoE, meetings with representatives from local authorities and government office.
Wolverhampton city council Universal Credit implementation working group
With the initial introduction of Universal Credit (UC) in Wolverhampton in 2016, the City Council led UC planning group approached the university be part of the group. Included in this was a request for a planning and working document that guided the group’s focus. The document provided a review of existing data from elsewhere of early implementations and was then used as a basis for an action plan for the group.
Women and prison industries
Funded by the Ministry of Justice and London College of Fashion, ICRD recently completed an independent evaluation of Making for Change at HMP Downview. The project’s purpose was to evaluate whether the development of skills in a Fashion Training & Manufacturing Workshop in a prison environment helps reduce reoffending. The aims were to help reduce the rate of reoffending by providing participants with the opportunity to gain industry-recognised skills and commercial experience, and to support participants into sustainable employment in fashion allowing female offenders on release to begin the process of re-building their lives, independent of government-benefits, while filling an industry skills-shortage in London.