Designing A quality mark
The evidence is clear: when delivered well, youth social action can have transformative outcomes for young people and communities. But whilst we have evidence that some youth social action opportunities do achieve double benefit outcomes, it is also clear that results are very varied across the field, and that not all youth social action is created equal.
Research by Ipsos MORI found that in 2015, less than half of young people who engaged in some form of giving behaviour felt that they or others had benefitted ‘a lot’ from taking part – a critical indicator of double benefit. But it is currently difficult to compare which experiences are effective in creating these outcomes and why – and so the variation in results is not leading to shared learning and improvement to the extent that it should.
On top of this, young people consistently say that colleges, universities and employers should do more to recognise their social action – or that this recognition would encourage them to take part if they don’t already. But there is currently no status for the opportunities young people take part in like there is for an apprenticeship or vocational qualification.
We have already united 17 organisations who have committed to improving the impact and recognition of youth social action in the UK through a charter. Over the past two years our partnership has helped spearhead a national conversation about the "double benefit" of youth social action.
Our intention is to now create a quality mark that will support any organisation that delivers youth social action to measure and improve their outcomes in a rigorous way. This will help us build a clear body of knowledge on which programmes and practices are effective, and help us to drive participation by clearly recognising high quality experiences.
To do this we are partnering with the Dartington Social Research Unit to deliver:
This project is intended for all organisations that offer or support youth social action opportunities. By creating common standards, and driving very rigorous approaches to improving impact, we want to elevate the status of youth social action in the UK.
Over the next few months we will be engaging delivery organisations to help us design the frameworks that will underpin the quality model. We will then be selecting 6 pilot organisations to be the first early adopters of the scheme, who will receive close support to improve their impact.
In 2012, Generation Change contributed to the Prime Minister's Decade of Social Action Review by articulating our vision for youth social action defined by double benefit. We later supported the Cabinet Office team, The Young Foundation and IVR to produce a scoping document for a framework to define quality in youth social action.
Since the launch of the #iwill campaign, the double benefit model, and the 6 quality principles, have been recognised across the business, education, government and voluntary sectors. To support the first anniversary of the campaign, we produced a guidance document for organisations who were looking to apply the 6 principles to their youth social action offer.
The guidance stems from a consultation of over 60 charities and social enterprises, as well as a literature review from our member organisations - including handbooks, training manuals, evaluations and commissioning practices - to gain a deep and wide understanding of what "quality" means to practitioners.
Our report below offers some guidance based on this study.