Analysing the cost and activity data of MAC-UK's founding project, Music & Change
MAC-UK is a charity using an innovative youth-led approach to improve access to mental health services for excluded young people and find solutions to youth offending. Their founding project, Music & Change, operated in Camden from 2008-2015 and informed their INTEGRATE approach. This takes mental health care to the streets, providing help to vulnerable people where and when they need it. The charity approached PBE to assess the economic benefits of their Music & Change project.
Volunteers from the Care Quality Commission and Ernst and Young provided a Data Advice Report for MAC-UK, analysing available cost and activity data and comparing this with alternative programmes.
The analysis showed that between 2012-2015 Music & Change spent an average of 1900 hours per year on the young people in contact with the project, and worked with an average 100 young people per year. The average costs were around £3000, or £156 per young person, per hour. An evaluation of Music & Change by The Centre for Mental Health indicates it did benefit young people through reduced mental health issues and improved employment opportunities, as well as reduced offending and gang association.
Taking a hurdle rate approach and using sources including the Social Value Bank, the volunteers estimated that the £3000 spend can be justified by four months in full-time employment or one month free from depression or anxiety.
The analysis will be used to help the charity to understand the true costs of their programme and determine which outcomes justify further investment. The recommendations also covered methods for further data collection and analysis.
Sinem Cakir, Chief Executive of MAC-UK:
“We were delighted with the support of the PBE volunteer economists. MAC-UK is frequently asked to prove the 'value' of our intervention. For the first time, PBE's report allows us to understand that each hour that a young person spent with Music & Change was not only cheaper than an hour in an outpatient appointment in a NHS Mental Health trust, but that it would only take evidence demonstrating modest employment or mental health outcomes to justify the cost of the project. This report has given us confidence and shifted our understanding of the power of economic analysis."