Evaluations Into Peer Advice

Final Evaluation Into Peer Circles

Date: 2020

Evaluated by: JH Consulting

Methodology:

  • Group and individual discussions with Peer Advisors and clients engaging with the project through St Giles and Evolve
  • A group development session held with front line and management staff (SG & Evolve), and Crisis, in early December 2019 to review the project, identifying key strengths, areas for development and actions to take forward Peer Circles
  • Individual discussions with SGT and Evolve project staff and managers, and key personnel from external organisations including referral partners and specialist providers working with Peer Circles
  • Review of all paper/electronic project monitoring materials, including a recent internal data analysis of the client cohort

Project outline:

The Peer Circles project is a three year programme funded through Big Lottery/European Social Fund (ESF) Building Better Opportunities (BBO), running from January 2017 to December 2019. The Peer Circles project is intended to provide tailored and bespoke support to help people who experience severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD) to improve their employability and, where possible, move into sustainable employment.

The Peer Circles project is funded through Big Lottery/European Social Fund (ESF) Building Better Opportunities (BBO). The original funding period ran from January 2017 to December 2019, and funding has subsequently been granted to extend the project for a further 2.5 years.

Key outcomes:

  • 144 percent of target recruited; 10% progressed into education and training and 17% into employment, 92% improvement in housing, 99% attending mental health services; 106% report increased self esteem
  • 98% peer advisors report improved confidence in their employability
  • Other outcomes include: gaining self-confidence, skills and knowledge, getting experience of a range of volunteer roles, developing professional attributes and skills, feeling more prepared for the world of work and moving into good quality careers.
  • External project partners were also very enthusiastic about the Peer Advisor model and the opportunity that it gives clients to use their lived experience positively:

Download our Peer Circles Final Evaluation

Interim Evaluation Into Peer Circles

Date: 2018 (midpoint of project)

Evaluated by: JH Consulting

Methodology:

  • Group and individual discussions with participants: 10 Peer Advisors and 15 clients across SGT (project lead) and Evolve (project partner)
  • Individual discussions with 8 SGT and Evolve project staff and managers, Peer Circles Project – Interim Evaluation Report, October 2018 2
  • Individual discussions with key personnel from 11 external organisations including: subcontractors, referral partners, specialist providers working with Peer Circles and the Crisis led BBO London project
  • Review of all paper/electronic project monitoring and internal review data and information.

Project outline: The Peer Circles project is a three year programme funded through Big Lottery/European Social Fund (ESF) Building Better Opportunities (BBO), running from January 2017 to December 2019. The Peer Circles project is intended to provide tailored and bespoke support to help people who experience severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD) to improve their employability and, where possible, move into sustainable employment. To deliver successful outcomes for participants, key project features were planned, including bespoke casework support delivered by experienced and skilled staff on an outreach basis across central and south London boroughs, peer to peer support and partnerships with a range of organisations.

Key findings:

  • At the end of September 2018, 451 participants have been engaged and have received very valuable and bespoke support to help them tackle a wide range of issues including housing, finance/debt, mental health, addiction and barriers to training and employment.
  • 51 participants have moved into education, training, employment or further job search.
  • The project is achieving against the indicators of change including building people’s confidence and self-esteem, reducing isolation and helping to improve access to vital services for housing, mental health and addiction. 183 instances of increased levels of self-esteem and 157 instances of improved housing.
  • 37 participants have completed the Learning to Advise element of the programme, with 5 achieving the full qualification

Download Peer Circles Interim Evaluation

Prison-based Peer Advisor Programme

Date: 2017

Evaluated by: JH Consulting

Methodology:

Examining a range of literature; SGT Peer Advice programme monitoring and evaluation reports and data; wider research into peer support in prisons and the prison environment; relevant Government documents; visits to five prisons which included on site discussions with 70 Peer Advisors, 26 clients and 19 prison and SGT staff; additional semi structured discussions and/or email interviews with Governors, senior managers, front line prison staff, SGT delivery and management staff, OMU, HMPPS, other organisations (Shannon Trust, University of Greenwich), 7 Peer Advisors who are now released – 6 in the UK and one in the USA, 3 prisoners training/trained as Peer Advisors through Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) from prison

Project overview: The St Giles Peer Advisor programme is delivered in over 30 prisons and youth offending institutions across England and Wales. The Bell Foundation, through its Language for Change initiative, part funds the programme in 3 prisons in London and the South East of England. The St Giles Peer Advisor programme enables prisoners to achieve Level 3 or 4 qualifications in Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG), and to gain the skills, knowledge and experience to become a Peer Advisor. Trained Peer Advisors provide practical and emotional support to other prisoners (clients), from the unique position of “someone who’s in the same boat” and through relationships of trust, empathy and mutual respect.

Key outcomes:

  • Figures for May 2017 show that in one month 3,771 clients were provided with 1,003 hours of one-to-one sessions.
  • From 2015 to July 2017, a total of 529 Peer Advisors have trained or are in the process of training. Numbers of Peer Advisors in each prison vary between 2 and 53. Two thirds of the 34 prisons have at least 10 Peer Advisors
  • Of the total of 529 Peer Advisors, 284 (54%) are fully qualified. The majority of the remaining Peers are in the process of qualifying.
  • The Level 3 or 4 qualification delivered through the Peer Advisor training is higher than that available through prison education, providing progression which “really gives you something to get your teeth into and focus on”. This engages and motivates prisoners, providing “a real sense of achievement” that helps to address the lack of positive focus and self-esteem that affects many.]
  • St Giles’ world leader Social Impact Bond has reduced re-offending rates in Peterborough by nearly 10%, using the Peer Advisor model.
  • Client feedback and monitoring data on interventions provided to clients show that it is the combination of trust, empathy, listening along with practical, skilled information, advice and guidance that is particularly powerful.
  • There is significant evidence that Peer Advisors reduce incidents of self-harm and even suicide in this particularly vulnerable part of the prison population, as underlined by prison staff.

Download our Peer Advisor Model In Prisons Evaluation

Walk The Talk: Creating the Big Society – Peer Advisor Programme

Date: 2010

Evaluated by: Frontier Economics

Project overview: The Peer Advisor Programme is a project run by the St Giles in prisons and local communities. The St Giles Peer Advisor programme enables prisoners to achieve Level 3 or 4 qualifications in Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG), and to gain the skills, knowledge and experience to become a Peer Advisor. Trained Peer Advisors provide practical and emotional support to other prisoners (clients), from the unique position of “someone who’s in the same boat” and through relationships of trust, empathy and mutual respect.

Key outcomes:

Training as a Peer Advisor:

  • Increases chances of employment from 24% to 52%) – generating an incremental benefit of £3,800.
  • Peer Advisors are more likely to move into education or training (36% compared to 6%) with an incremental benefit £1,800.
  • Peer Advisors employment-related benefit claims are likely to fall (81% to 61% claiming) – incremental benefit £670.
  • Peer Advisors housing-related benefit claims are likely to fall (81% to 61% claiming) – incremental benefit £670

Being advised by a Peer Advisor:

  • Increased chances of employment from 24% to 44% – generating an incremental benefit of £1,950.
  • Increased moves into education or training (44% compared to 6%) – incremental benefit £1,580.
  • Employment-related benefit claims are likely to fall (81% to 64% claiming) – incremental benefit £580.
  • Housing-related benefit claims are likely to fall (81% to 64% claiming) – incremental benefit £580.
  • Total benefits are £16.3m, driven by improvements in employment £9.0m, education and training £5.3m and housing and health outcomes £1.9m.
  • The benefits-to-costs ratio of the Peer Advice Project is around 5-to-1 – thus Every £1 invested by the St Giles Trust creates at least £5 in benefits.

Download our Walking The Talk: The Benefits Of Peer Advice Evaluation

Peer-led Support Helping Offenders Resettle - Community Learning Innovation Fund (CLIF)

Project overview: The overall aim of this project is to provide released offenders with support to achieve their goal of desisting from re-offending through a model of professional peer-led support. The project aimed to provide coaching and accredited learning for 70 adult learners, enabling them to provide effective support to offenders released from prison and encouragement to lead positive and crime-free lifestyles.

Key outcomes:

  • 61 learners attended accredited and non-accredited training/workshops
  • 15 gained employment
  • 37 Learners gained an accredited L3 qualification in custody and many are now delivering our services in the community supporting offenders on release with housing and employment.

Download our CLIF Evaluation

Evaluation Into The Peer To The Future Programme

Date: 2018

Evaluated by: PwC

Methodology: scoping workshops, desk bases research, case notes and data collected by St Giles, peer advisors surveys

Project overview: Peer to the Future (PttF) programme operating out of HMP Leeds and run by St Giles Trust West Yorkshire.

Trained Peer Advisors provided prison leavers with mentoring and practical support to obtain stable housing and benefits, provide routes into employment, education and training, and facilitate access to specialist services for those with addiction or mental health needs. Both Peer Advisors and the clients they serve are given the opportunity to obtain an NVQ Level 3 qualification in Advice and Guidance as part of the programme.

Key outcomes:

  • £8.54 in societal returns for every £1 invested. Social value has been generated through a mixture of economic contributions, human capital gains, avoided Exchequer costs and wellbeing improvements among individuals
  • £1.4 million of societal value generated from a £165,132 investment into St Giles’ programme
  • 14% of the total value generated by the PttF programme is associated with Peer Advisors - the social value of these impacts – £192,635 – is greater than the total financial cost of running the programme
  • The remaining 86% of social value from the programme is associated with the individuals these Peer Advisors support. £49,142 worth of social impact on society (including avoided costs from clients reoffending, peer advisors and clients social economic contributions etc) and £1,167,974 worth of social impact on clients (including wellbeing benefits from securing training, employment and housing)
  • Impacts arising from Peer Advisors and clients gaining the NVQ qualification create the most social value. This suggests that the training element of the Peer Advisor model and, more broadly, of interventions that successfully get ex-offenders back into employment, are key contributors to delivering social value.

Download our Peer to the Future Programme Evaluation

Peer Advisor Model – Summary of Previous Evaluations

Project overview:

The Peer Advisor Model is a project that utilises peer support from ex service users and those with lived experience to clients who are in the position the Peer Advisor once was. Peer Advisors gain a recognised level 3 qualification that promotes paid work after a period of volunteering, and are provided with opportunities to train and work in Peer Advice roles in custody and on release on temporary licence (ROTL).

Key outcomes:

  • On average, 50% of those training as Peer Advisors move into paid employment, many in caseworker or support work roles

Download our Peer Advisor Model Evaluation Summary

Leeds Peer Advisor Centre

Date: 2018

Methodology:

  • Discussions with key SGT staff involved in the delivery of the PAC project;
  • One-to-one discussions with Peer Advisors – in training, qualified and some who have moved into paid work, and with partner organisations involved with the project, and
  • Desk research into similar provision/projects and into employment for people with lived experience.

Project overview:

The Leeds Peer Advice Centre (PAC) is a three year project funded through the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.  The project began in September 2015 and its key objectives are that:

  • The employment prospects of ex service users (Peer Advisors) are improved through accredited training in advice and guidance, and work experience
  • There is improved confidence and motivation in very disadvantaged clients using the services of voluntary agencies in Leeds
  • The service delivery of local voluntary agencies is enhanced through having professionally trained advice and guidance workers on placement in their workforce

Key outcomes:

  • 131 peers undertook IAG training
  • 37 confirmed to have achieved AIG qualification
  • 114 peer advisors completed voluntary placements – 48 with St Giles, 66 with partner organisations
  • 640 clients report progress in tackling barriers, managing lives, feeling more motivated as a result of the Peer Advisors interventions
  • 50 Voluntary agencies hosting Peer Advisor placements
  • 33 Voluntary agencies reporting changes in respect of volunteering with all agencies involved in the project have reported a positive impact on their organisation through hosting Peer Advisor placements

Download our Leeds Peer Advisor Centre Evaluation

London Peer Hub Final Evaluation

Date: 2019

Methodology:

  • Discussions with key SGT staff involved in the delivery of the PAC project;
  • One-to-one discussions with Peer Advisors – in training, qualified and some who have moved into paid work, and with partner organisations involved with the project, andDownload our London Peer Hub Evaluation
  • Desk research into similar provision/projects and into employment for people with lived experience.

Project overview:

The London Peer Hub is a three year project funded through the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.  The project, delivered in South London, began in July 2016, with the stated outcomes of:

  • Improving the employment prospects of ex service users (Peer Advisors) through accredited training in advice and guidance and work experience
  • Enabling better life chances for clients from disadvantaged communities in South East London as beneficiaries of peer support
  • Enhancing the service delivery of local voluntary agencies through having professionally trained advice & guidance workers in their workforce on placement

Key outcomes:

Between July 2016 – September 2019,

  • 121 Peer Advisors undertake specific Advice & Guidance training
  • 86 Peer Advisors subsequently complete a bespoke voluntary placement
  • 59 Peer Advisors progress into paid employment
  • 528 clients report progress in tackling barriers eg: housing, substance misuse, debt, family, 506 reported increased confidence and 528 reported feeling more motivated about their future.
  • 37 voluntary agencies hosting Peer Advisor placements and reporting benefits for their clients/service delivery

Download our London Peer Hub Evaluation

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