Our Place is a package of support and grants intended to give people more power over their local services.  Locality - a national network of community-led organisations – has been funded by DCLG to provide this support, to help the Our Place areas produce an operational plan, including a cost-benefit analysis.

We worked with Locality to identify five charity-led Our Place areas that would benefit from economist input to help them produce their CBA. We also worked alongside colleagues at DCLG and other delivery associates, in particular New Economy Manchester (NEM), whose CBA tool was used to ensure consistency of approach, to develop the process, help with presentations and training and produce guidance.

Our volunteers advised the charities on the data required to populate the NEM tool, discussed assumptions and data quality, and ensured the estimates were as robust as possible.  Jane Walsh, a former Bank of England economist, worked as a PBE volunteer, co-ordinating the projects, offering support and advice and ensuring a consistent approach across the five.

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, Lambeth
198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, works in an area of high youth unemployment, where the creative and cultural sector has been identified as a key growth area. They aim to reduce youth unemployment and support economic growth in their area, by working with partners and the local community to open an Arts & Enterprise Factory. The Factory will develop pathways for an array of career options in the creative, cultural and retail industries for young people, as well as building employment opportunities, developing transferable skills, community enterprise and support for the local economy.

Thank you to Joe Henry, a London-based economist working for RBS, who supported 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning.

Community First, Devizes
Community First works in an area where nearly half of the NHS’s financial resources are used by people aged over 65. They hope that, through early intervention and prevention in tackling loneliness and improving health, fewer older people will feel socially isolated or lonely, and savings from intervening early to prevent ill health can be made.

Thank you to Ben Mason, a Cardiff-based economist at Arup, who work worked with Community First.

Halifax Opportunities Trust
Halifax Opportunities Trust aims to reduce isolation amongst the vulnerable, especially the elderly, to improve their quality of life and health outcomes through a number of activities: firstly, working from a community base to support key workers by helping them to identify the most isolated and vulnerable; secondly, setting up a volunteer brokerage system that meets local needs and; thirdly, working with the vulnerable and isolated to help them access either volunteering services or to become volunteers, or both.

Thank you to Carol Murray and Adam Robinson, economists with DWP in Leeds, who supported Halifax Opportunities Trust.

Barbara Harbinson, CEO: “The pro bono support [we] received from [the PBE] team has been exceptional and I can't thank them enough.”

Malachi Community Trust
Approximately 10% of all Birmingham children are referred into children’s social care for assessment. Malachi Community Trust's experience/consultation can evidence that at least a further 10% of children in schools require early help in order to prevent escalation and to help them achieve their full potential. Their aim is to reduce unidentified risk to vulnerable children, resulting in fewer referrals to social care. 

Thank you to Mike Hope, a senior economist with DWP in London, for his work with Malachi Community Trust.

Somers Town Community Association
Somers Town Community Association (STCA) works in an area with high levels of unemployment, particularly amongst young people. Research by the local Neighbourhood Forum found that local people not only faced a lack of jobs, but also poor awareness of and access to local services, and issues relating to language, IT skills, health and childcare. STCA wants to create a sustainable Jobs Hub in the heart of Somers Town so that residents are able to access the wealth of resources, expertise and support in one place. Co-located services will include Job Centre Plus, welfare and benefit support/advice and some health and wellbeing services within the hub, with direct connections to the Local GP surgery.

Thank you to Laurence Crook, a London-based economist with the Wellcome Trust, for his support to STCA.

David Atkinson, a consultant working with STCA said: “Thanks so much again for your time, expert guidance and input on this. I'm not quite sure how we would have got to this stage without you!”

Thank you also to Jane Walsh for her input and support to all the projects.

30th April 2015