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Working Chance, a charity which works to reduce barriers for female ex-offenders entering employment, was found to have a potential attributable economic benefit of £1.4 million per year. 

Working Chance is a recruitment charity that works with female ex-offenders to remove barriers to employment. The organisation not only supports the ex-offenders to improve their employability, but also works with employers to reduce discrimination in recruitment practices. Working Chance approached Pro Bono Economics to better understand the economic impact of their work. 

In this report, data from Working Chance and the Ministry of Justice was used to compare the employability barriers faced by female ex-offenders who participated with Working Chance compared to an estimated control group of female ex-offenders who did not access similar support services. 

The process for this assessment was in three parts: 

  1. Examine the cost of running Working Chance; 
  2. Evaluate the wide variety of economic impacts that the programme could have on society using data from Working Chance, the Ministry of Justice, and an extensive literature review; and 
  3. Compare (1) and (2) to produce an estimated economic cost/benefit ratio to society 

It is important to note that there were difficulties in collecting appropriate data to conduct a conclusive analysis. There is no available data to directly compare the ex-offenders interacting with Working Chance to ex-offenders who do not interact with the programme, in order to see the direct attributable benefit from Working Chance’s project.  

The report found that for every £1 spent by Working Chance, the benefit to society ranges from £0.50 to £1.70. However this analysis does not consider some of the wider benefits which cannot be quantified, including impact on the ex-offenders’ wellbeing or the potential benefits to their children.  

Evidence shows that parental income has causal effects on a wide range of children’s outcomes including measures of health and education. These benefits are potentially large and long-lasting and should be borne in mind when interpreting the quantitative analysis. 

Despite difficulties in calculating the exact economic impact of Working Chance, the research indicates that the programme provides a substantial benefit to society. 

Thank you very much to our volunteers Mike Hope (Greater London Authority), Kyran Donald (Health and Safety Executive), Daniel Sellman (Home Office), Tara Murray (Crown Commercial Service), Benjamin Thomas and Matthew Mair (RBB Economics) for their dedicated work on this report. 

Pro Bono Economics was supported by City Bridge Trust, the funding arm of The City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates (1035628), to carry out this project.

7th June 2019