Reducing youth offending: The Realising Ambition program

Reducing youth offending: The Realising Ambition program

17 December 2014

Realising Ambition aims to help young people avoid re-offending by promoting a strong, replicable evidence-base, and sharing the project findings.

The Realising Ambition program is a five-year UK initiative that is designed to help young people avoid pathways into offending. A portfolio of 25 of the best available evidence-based programs and promising interventions were identified, with the aim of replicating these programs across the UK.

The program also aims to significantly contribute to building the evidence base in the UK through the evaluation of some projects, supporting and refining promising interventions, and sharing the findings across a series of learning reports.

The Realising Ambition program has just completed its third year of delivery. A recently released mid-program report shares their learnings so far. The report identified five features that have consistently emerged as characteristics that support organisations to replicate their interventions effectively. A successful Realising Ambition organisation:

  • Has a tightly defined and replicable intervention underpinned by a strong logic model, with a clearly specified target group and set of activities. To reduce the possibility of program impacts weakening over time, organisations should have established who the intended target groups are, and set up clear eligibility criteria and referral routes prior to delivery. Organisations should also have a clear understanding of the core components of the intervention – parts that cannot be changed – and be able to effectively manage any adaptations that may be required.
  • Is focused on improving child outcomes through basing its interventions on the evidence of what works, and generating new evidence by monitoring and evaluation. High-quality impact reporting should be routine, with the monitoring and reporting of impact built in to the intervention. Value needs to be placed on quantitative and qualitative data information to show the effectiveness of the intervention and inform stakeholders. It is also important to recognise it takes time and resources to effectively monitor and evaluate.
  • Can demonstrate its ability to effectively and faithfully deliver, and ensure quality using performance management tools. Having management systems in place at the start of the intervention ensure that delivery, intervention quality and outcomes can be effectively monitored. Supporting the relationships between delivery partners and employing highly skilled staff are critical for successful delivery.
  • Has a clear and compelling business case that draws on evidence of impact and realistic business modelling to support its future sustainability and the replication of the intervention. Key to successful replication is having a sustainability and succession plan built in to the intervention.
  • Is committed to continuous learning and improvement in order to improve its organisational structure to support delivery. Continuous learning allows organisations to improve aspects of their intervention and organisational structure, and, if required, make any adaptions or changes that may need to be implemented. Developing a learning culture that values reflection of practice and has formal processes in place for delivery partners to share information and resources facilitates successful learning.

Download the full report: Realising Ambition: lessons on replication and evidence-based interventions mid-program report (PDF).

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