FEEDBACK FROM CHARITIES
Rob Owen, St Giles Trust
"The Pro Bono Economics/Frontier Economics report on our work in reducing re-offending rates can only be described as dynamite. It's been impactful at every level of government and been widely aired in the press.
"Einstein said 'Insanity is doing the same things again and again and expecting different results'. What Pro Bono Economics has enabled us to do is to effectively demonstrate that our innovative service that centres around us using well trained, well motivated, well managed ex-offenders, meeting other offenders, literally at the gates on release and intensively supporting them successfully back in to society can reduce re-offending rates by an additional 40%. A dramatic step change in success."
Baroness Stedman-Scott, CEO Tomorrow’s People
“We are proud to have had our work evaluated by economists from a leading consultancy. We believe that everyone who has a stake in our work and the results we achieve - the Government, local authorities, our supporters and others - should be able to see analysis and results that have been carried out independently, and understand the basis on which this was done. We hope this is a first step in defining terms and creating measures that others can adopt, ultimately producing transparent reporting across all organisations in our sector.”
Robert Geddis, Citizenship Foundation
"The economists’ work on Chance to be Chancellor was definitive in shaping the content and focus of the challenge in 2011. The dissecting of the Comprehensive Spending Review in order to generate the content for the challenge for young people, the creation of the metric and external user testing simply would not have been feasible in-house."
Robert Woolf, FTC Chair
“This evaluation sets out in clear terms the value to society of our work from an economic perspective and supports our own views and feedback of the positive difference we make to the lives of ex-offenders and those at risk of offending”
Maternal Mortality Campaign
“PBE’s work has been incredibly useful for the Maternal Mortality Campaign. The in-depth analyses of existing reports on the cost of maternal mortality and health more broadly in global and national contexts provides an important background to our advocacy efforts. By reviewing a number of studies and highlighting the different assumption sets in each we now have a strong background on the methodologies studies examine the investment case for health, and are aware of the current limitations on these issues.”
Jean Templeton, CEO St Basils
“I am hugely grateful to all involved in this project. Although it has taken longer than we all originally anticipated, I think the delay has made the learning all the more valuable. I never entered into the relationship for a simple £1 creates £? headline. The work, the context, the needs and the impact are more complex than many of the current SROI examples indicate. All of the aforementioned have changed during the period and the link to behavioural economics seems even more pertinent.
“I have a new language which includes 'counterfactuals' and 'deadweight' and I even sound as though I understand what they mean. I have a new understanding and confidence about some of the 'blah' around pseudo-scientific approaches and can challenge appropriately. I have been able to address our inconsistent approach to data collection: as you have illustrated clearly ‘rubbish in/rubbish out’. I have benefited from the kudos of having Gus associated with St Basils and have unashamedly bandied his picture and name around.
“As discussed, St Basils has confirmed our approach as 'high quality, cutting edge, sharp end, youth led, median cost' organisation with a national reputation as a centre of excellence. We have committed resources to developing as a PIE organisation and increasing our accommodation base for young people. Lots to do and new ways of working together. It's not the time to retreat and we're not intending to.”
Anne Marie Carrie, CEO Barnardo’s
“The moral argument for helping girls and boys who are exploited for sex is plain – now we have tangible, economic evidence of the necessity for specialist help too.”
Miriam Merkova, Manager of the Safe Exit project, Toynbee Hall
"It has been really useful to have expert volunteers looking at how we collect information about that work that we do and particularly how we document the outcomes of our work. As a result of PBE's recommendations, the project will be moving from ad-hoc recording to a more robust framework for ourcomes monitoring. We will be introducing regular reviews and a grading outcomes tool."
FEEDACK FROM ECONOMISTS
Patrick Curry and Ben Gill, HMT, PBE economists
“Working with St Basils through PBE has been a great experience. We have learnt a lot from the expertise of the charity itself, about innovative approaches to homelessness and the practical challenges of measuring and demonstrating impact. We have had the opportunity to broaden our own professional skills across a complex and fascinating set of issues. We would encourage other economists, who are looking to put their skills to practical use outside their normal work and to challenge their ways of thinking, to get involved with PBE.”
Fraser Thompson, PBE economist
"The cost of re-offending is extremely high in the UK. Crime committed by ex-prisoners costs the economy at least £11bn per year. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has estimated that reducing the re-offending rate of ex-prisoners by just 10% could save over £1bn for the UK economy annually. Myself and some fellow colleagues have worked to provide a rigorous and impartial analysis of the economic impact of the Foundation Training Company (FTC), which provides a range of services to ex-offenders to help with their reintegration into society. Our work aimed to understand how their efforts help to reduce re-offending rates and the savings this can create for society. Understanding the impact of FTC on re-offending is a far from straightforward task however - for example, finding a representative comparison group proved extremely difficult. Despite these challenges, the work has reinforced to me the power and value of economic analysis for the charitable sector."
“I have learned a lot working with St Basils through Pro Bono Economics (PBE) and I am very pleased that the project has now reached a successful conclusion. The work on the project is a great example of how economists, through PBE, can draw on their skills and make a positive contribution to the work of charities.”
Michael Kell, National Audit Office
“My main involvement with PBE has been as the line manager of NAO economists who have volunteered their time and services to PBE. This arrangement has worked very well from my perspective. PBE have been professional, pragmatic and keen to ensure that input from NAO economists has been badged appropriately. For NAO economists, working with PBE has provided the opportunity to work on projects closer to the “front line” than much of their day jobs; to have a high degree of individual responsibility for an analytical project; and to develop technical and communication skills in a different context. The NAO benefits from being able to offer its economists a wider set of experiences, and having another way of addressing its CSR agenda.”
Chris Peacock, Bank of England
"It was a fantastic experience to meet the case workers at Toynbee Hall through PBE and get an insight into the way they are making a real difference to the lives of women under the safe exit scheme. I learned a great deal about the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis and how they work through them with limited resources. It was both inspiring and humbling. I would very much encourage other economists to get involved with PBE as a way of applying their skills to new issues and to challenges their ways of thinking."
Irum Malik, Happold Consulting
"Undertaking these tasks for the third sector provides us with a much more immediate impact. It has personally enabled me to work on a much more diverse problem set and apply the skills I have learned over the last 20 years for the benefit of those who are working hard to improve people's lives. It's sustainable development in action!"