Case Study – Multi-Delivery Organisation working with Children and Young People

Organisation: The organisation under study was a multi-delivery organisation working with children and young people in the West of Scotland. It has 18 full time staff, 1 part time member of staff and 15 volunteers as well as sessional staff recruited for school holiday periods. The annual turnover averages c£2.5 million.

Its key programmes cover physical activity, oral hygiene and sports development.

It offers a range of programmes tailored to different ages from the very young to the oldest of teenagers. For the youngest children, structured play within the school environment forms a key element of service delivery, promoting physical exercise and oral wellbeing. As children age, the interventions change to accommodate their needs, frequently becoming more sports orientated.

The organisation uses a cartoon character, similar to a football/sports mascot, to deliver strong messages about physical fitness and oral hygiene to its target audience. The cartoon character is widely recognised by primary school aged children and appears firstly at events and secondly in schools as part of the oral health programme.

Secondary, and consequential, programmes include adult training, employability and peer education. There are also commercial earnings from equipment hire, merchandising and providing event support with their play equipment.

The key driver for the entire organisation’s work is to establish good health habits mainly oral hygiene and physical activity. Other research work has shown that if good health habits are established in childhood, they remain with the person for life, thus reducing the state’s burden.

The organisation has cocktail of funders, primarily the NHS and the local council.

Historically the West of Scotland is towards the top of the UK’s areas in terms of poor physical fitness, poor oral health and child obesity. Life expectancy is considerably shorter than other parts of the UK and, as a consequence, state health care costs are much higher.

Any programmes which reduce health costs are, therefore, encouraged so this organisation’s work was expected to deliver a high impact when undergoing The Questant Process.

The Questant Process undertaken for this organisation was a three-year process. During that period a number of short term programmes were started and completed, often tying in with school holidays. The design of the Process allows such projects to be readily included in the overall displacement and other gains.

Nine discreet gain areas were identified and the displacement gain considered for each area. Benefit & Tax gains were also considered from those who moved into employment as a result of the organisation’s work. This was a small but significant number of people.

With this organisation, it was important to recognise the swiftness with which participants moved through the organisation. This means that the overall gain to the nation is less than when working with clients with more complex needs or interventions which take place over a longer period of time.

Applying the Questant Process showed that the organisation’s delivery was very mixed. Overall the gain to the public purse was strongly positive. However, the Process showed that some parts of the organisation’s delivery were being heavily subsidised by others. Further analysis showed that one particular project propped up the whole organisation; some interventions were generating minimal or no positive impacts and one particular aspect of the organisation’s delivery had a strong negative impact to the extent that the organisation would be better off not carrying out that activity.

As a result of applying the Questant Process, it was shown that the average return per £1.00 spent was in excess of £5.00 over the three year period under study.

The organisation was delighted with the outcomes. Since receiving their Questant Process Report, they have used the Report:

  • To support successful funding submissions to major and other funders
  • To modify their service delivery in light of the Process’s outcomes, removing the activity which produced the strong negative impact
  • To influence their forward strategy
  • In their public relations and lobbying
  • To give their Board a clearer understanding of the organisation and its achievements

One unexpected, and heart warming, consequence is that the organisation and its management reported to us that they now feel they have “worth” and this has re-energised them to consider future action for growth.