This paper examines why many services in the youth sector are unable or unwilling to measure improvements they make.
- Public services in the youth sector tend not to use rigorous evidence in their decision making processes. This doesn’t mean however that no evidence exists. Instead it may be inaccessible, untimely, or it simply doesn’t fill a central part of the decision making process.
- Barriers to effective evaluation include cost, time, expertise and the burden of exchange between academia and the youth sector.
- A small set of examples in this paper shows that collaborations between academic and community sectors can bring enormous value in the form of new evidence and learning.
- In its next phase of work, Project Oracle will seek to catalyse such collaborations on an unprecedented scale.
Project Oracle is an attempt to develop the way services measure the improvements they make in outcomes for young people.
On 14 March 2012 Nesta hosted an event for the Greater London Authority to announce the development and expansion of Project Oracle. This paper was published to coincide with the event.
Project Oracle is the only city-wide evidence generation campaign of its kind anywhere in the world. Led by Greater London Authority with a consortium of co-funders, it strives to bring evaluations of youth programmes – many of which are delivered by small or charitable organisations – in line with academically rigorous and internationally recognised standards of evidence, improving consistency and quality in our understanding of what does – and does not – work.
Mat Ilic and Ruth Puttick