Project Reports

Vaccine Update Report

This report presents findings from a piece of research about vaccine uptake amongst people with experience of multiple disadvantage in Birmingham.


Innovation and Enterprise in the Social Economy in the West Midlands

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the West Midlands from a health and wellbeing, and an economic standpoint.

Our report commissioned by the West Midlands Combined Authority captures the learning and insight gained from a review of the incredible civil society and social economy response across the WMCA area, based on engagement with frontline organisations and strategic stakeholders carried out in August-September 2020. We present a set of detailed case studies that highlight innovation, enterprise and flexibility. Our framework draws attention to the diversity and timeliness of the civil society and social economy response, pointing the way to how public agencies, WMCA and their partners can best support the sector in the future.


'Out of Area' Housing Report


London's children and young people who are not British citizens: A profile

The ICRD were comissioned by the Greater London Authority in 2018 to analyse the migrant population of London, paying particular focus to those who are undocumented, and those who are not adults. The project team was lead by ICRD Research Associate Andrew Jolly, with assistance from University of Birmingham lecturer Siân Thomas, and ICRD PhD Student James Stanyer. The report is entitled 'London's children and young people who are not British citizens: A profile'. To read the executive summary, please see below, or find the Full Report here. 


Sandwell Youth Offending Service - Creative Arts Programme Evaluation

Sandwell Youth Offending Service (YOS) work with young people who have very complex life stories. The young people may have committed very serious offences but are also often highly vulnerable to exploitation and have experienced significant trauma. Their experiences can lead to mistrust or suspicion of those in authority and in turn, for practitioners, the challenge of engagement can seem insurmountable. Sandwell YOS therefore argue that an evolution of the current approach is required to more effectively engage, support, and help young people. The new National Standards for youth justice, underpinned by the Youth Justice Board’s (YJB) helpful focus on a ‘child first’ principle support a change in thinking and encourage YOSs to take local initiatives. Sandwell YOS’ vision is to focus on the use of the arts and increasingly reconceptualise the YOS over time into a ‘Creative YOS’.

In January 2019, Sandwell YOS were awarded funding from the YJB’s Serious Youth Violence Grant to help increase the use of arts with the cohort. The ICRD were commissioned to conduct a process and impact evaluation, combining quantitative data to understand if any change was happening with in-depth qualitative interviews to understand how  this change might be happening, foregrounding the voice and experience of participants. The new creative programme of work being introduced by Sandwell YOS is innovative in working across the whole service with a range of arts and creative activities, and therefore no similar evaluation has previously been conducted.

The ICRD’s report from the first phase of the evaluation can be found below.


Houses of Multiple Occupancy

Amidst a national housing crisis, coupled with the impact of welfare reforms and austerity, there has been a growth in the numbers of people living in houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).  Described by some as being ‘housing of last resort’, HMOs are home to a disproportionate number of vulnerable tenants with personal challenges such as substance abuse, mental health issues, prison leavers and the former homeless.

Often concentrated in low income neighbourhoods, HMOs have increasingly become associated with social problems and barriers to regeneration.  In response, policy initiatives have focused on stricter planning regulations and housing standards enforcement.  However, this research begins to examine how this may need to be complemented with greater recognition of the needs of vulnerable tenants and ways in which these needs might be managed and mitigated.


Multiple and Complex Needs in the West Midlands

Approximately 16,800 individuals are estimated to be facing multiple and complex needs across the West Midlands region. Working with the West Midlands Combined Authority and West Midlands Fire Service, Dr Rachel Massie and Prof Laura Caulfield from the ICRD have analysed unstructured interviews with 25 individuals with lived experience of multiple and complex needs to add a local-level, qualitative understanding of their story and issues they face.  The report can be found below and summarises participants’ adverse experiences and both the positive and negative interactions with support services.


Sounding Out Evaluation

Sounding Out is a project for ex-prisoners designed to support them post-release, through a combination of music production, live performances, and paid training placements. Sounding Out focused on creating new music as a band, showcasing their performers centre-stage at high profile gigs. Sounding Out is run by the Irene Taylor Trust who want to enrich the lives of prisoners at every stage of their journey through the criminal justice system and back into the community.

In a bid to examine the impact Sounding Out has had on its participants, the Institute for Community Research and Development evaluated the programme throughout 2018. The full report can be found embedded below. 


Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group - Social Prescribing Evaluation

 At a time when the evidence of effectiveness of social prescribing schemes are of national and political interest, the ICRD were commissioned by the Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group to conduct an independent mixed methods evaluation of Wolverhampton’s Social Prescribing Service. The social prescribing service, ran by Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council, provides a link between primary care services and the voluntary and community sector, and aims to help people with non-clinical needs access a wide variety of services and activities in Wolverhampton to support their health and wellbeing.  Dr Rachel Massie and Dr Nahid Ahmad led the evaluation and the report, available below, highlights that the positive impact on service users’ wellbeing and loneliness, potential cost savings for primary care services and overwhelmingly positive feedback from a range of stakeholders.


One Walsall - State of the Sector Survey

One Walsall, the umbrella body for voluntary action in Walsall, launched a ‘State of the Sector’ survey in a bid to uncover the impacts, strengths and weaknesses of the area’s charitable sector. The survey called upon any and all not-for-profit group operating in the region to participate, from small community groups providing informal support to nationally established charities delivering commissioned services. 

In collaboration with the ICRD, a report highlighting the findings from the survey can be found below, with the aim of helping voluntary-sector organizations in Walsall demonstrate their impact, while also assisting potential partners or funders in understanding what kind of support these groups require.


Communities Uncovered

Communities Uncovered was published earlier this year by the Heart of England Community Foundation  in collaboration with the ICRD’s Dr. Steve Iafrati. The report aimed to  identify the most pressing social, economic and health related issues currently affecting people living in Birmingham and the Black Country.  The Heart of England Community Foundation followed up with the launch of the Communities Uncovered Fund, designed to support the recommendations highlighted in the report, in an effort to make significant positive changes in Birmingham and the Black Country.

For the full Communities Uncovered report, please see below. 


Making for Change

Making for Change Fashion Training and Manufacturing Workshop is a partnership between HM Prison Service and London College of Fashion. Making for Change takes an innovative approach in prison, linked to improving the engagement of women in prison industries by providing training in fashion production skills and accrediting participants with industry-recognised qualifications.

The evaluation was led by Professor Laura Caulfield, with Kerry Curtis and Ella Simpson at Bath Spa University. Data was collected to assess both if and how the project had an impact, and also to identify any barriers to success. The research team gathered observational, focus group, and interview data with Making for Change participants, staff, and stakeholders at HMP Downview.