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Adding value or quick fix?  

St Giles Trust shows it is both value for money and value added in new Pro Bono Economics report

Times are incredibly tough for charities working with disadvantaged and socially excluded people. Cuts mean they are expected to deliver more for less and the service users they support are usually the ones who feel the most brutal effects. It is vitally important that commissioners and funders adopt the services that have been proven to have an impact and add real value, rather than a short-term quick fix.

Charity St Giles Trust supports young people at their lowest ebb. Their Choices programme provides one-to-one support to get young people back on track. Now in its third year of operation, the charity has been able to expand Choices from a small south London pilot to cover London, Cardiff and Leeds.

Pro Bono Economics (PBE), the charity established by the Bank of England’s Andy Haldane and Martin Brookes from Tomorrow’s People, has been instrumental in helping charities and social enterprises across the sector understand their impact and value. Their latest study released just this week shows that for every pound spent on Choices – you get £4 back through keeping people in work, away from crime and not reliant on public services.

Isobel (name changed) who was supported through St Giles Trust’s Choices Programme, says:

“It’s just been great knowing that someone impartial is and has been there for me.  And in 2018 I will be graduating with a First Class Honours degree and will have qualified as a midwife.  Thank you just doesn’t cut it, I am so lucky to have received this support.”

This isn’t the first time St Giles Trust has taken the plunge to look at its impact. In 2010 the charity linked up with PBE to partake in PBE’s first ever study. Looking at St Giles Trust’s Through the Gates programme, the report engendered a new level of debate on the rehabilitation of prisoners. Through the Gates matched people leaving prison with ex-offenders trained as caseworkers and PBE showed just how much better this works - the benefits of the programme outweighed the costs by 10:1.

Julia Grant, CEO of PBE, says:

“We all know there are tough times ahead, only last month 4Children closed down, a £30m charity with 45,000 children in its care. So the need for charities to use data and evidence to drive their own hard choices has never been more real. PBE is here to help with that challenge and promote the value of doing good and doing it well.”

Rob Owen, CEO of St. Giles Trust, says:

“The first PBE report was a real game changer for St Giles Trust. The results gave us the credibility to engage in the world’s first ever social impact bond which focused on prison leavers.

We are now one of the leading charities working with ex-offenders and disadvantaged adults and changes we have long called for – such as support for short sentenced prisoners and use of professionally trained ex-offenders to provide services – have now been adopted into the mainstream.

Whilst these developments are to be warmly welcomed we are calling for more.  The young people we help through Choices would often have been the next generation of people in the criminal justice system had their needs remained unaddressed. This evaluation helps to show that it makes sense to invest in their future now to prevent longer term damage to their lives and wider society.”

3rd October 2016