Shelter Scotland is Scotland’s national housing and homelessness charity and works with some of the most deprived and disadvantaged people across the country. The organisation provides people with housing and financial advice, helps them to secure loans and assists negotiations with landlords and much more.

Shelter Scotland’s family support project Foundations First aims to “transform the life chances of families in chronic poverty” by providing client led support and advice to those who need it most. The charity came to Pro Bono Economics to ask for advice about how to improve their methods of data collection in order to obtain more useful and meaningful data about their service users. This will help Shelter Scotland to realise the effectiveness of their work with clients during and after their involvement.

PBE matched two economists to Shelter Scotland, Conor Doyle and Anthony Higney from the Department for International Development. The PBE volunteers produced an advice report on how to collect stronger data to begin tracking outcomes.

The volunteers began by reviewing current data collection methods and then advised on ways in which these could be improved. They then provided some advice on areas of Shelter Scotland’s work that would be both useful and easy to analyse using economics, as well as suggesting at which stages of the service data should be collected in order to get a view of the programme’s impact over time. The key areas for future analysis were deemed to be income, children, employment and housing.

“The advice received from PBE volunteers has been very useful in providing the Foundations First team with an opportunity to focus on our data collection methods and what we hope to learn from them."

“We are using the report from Anthony and Conor to re-assess our data collection methods and ensure they are most appropriate to help us tell the complex experiences and stories of the people we are working with to politicians, funders and policy makers.”

Alison Watson, Deputy Director

We would like to thank Conor and Anthony for their hard work and help in producing this report.

21st July 2016