We are really pleased to announce that our new Head of Networks and Practice Development, Steve Hillman, joined us last week. Steve will lead the Centre’s work in supporting its regional and thematic networks to lead on and shape the evidence and impact agenda, and to develop evaluation practice locally. Steve will also lead on developing and integrating Project Oracle’s offer through the Centre, following the merger with the Centre in August 2018.
Steve has 18 years’ experience in the youth sector. Prior to joining the Centre, Steve was Director of Policy and Impact at the Foyer Federation, a youth housing and personal development charity. Whilst at the Foyer Federation Steve led on developing a Theory of Change for the UK Foyer network, and developed a revised impact measurement model that was aligned to the Foyer Federation’s Quality Assurance process. The Foyer Federation was also one of the Centre's ‘early adopters’ and as a result Steve has been engaging with and supporting the Centre's work since its foundation.
Steve is very much looking forward to getting out to see the Networks and sharing his experience of how working with the Centre can have a transformative impact on organisations and their outcomes for young people.
As part of its work to take forward the legacy of Project Oracle, the Centre is beginning new work with Local Cultural Education Partnerships (LCEPs) in the North West. Over the next few months, we’ll be working with five Merseyside LCEPs to support them in developing an LCEP-wide theory of change and a common outcomes framework that will enable them to gather and use evidence collectively. This work is being jointly funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Curious Minds, the Arts Bridge organisation in the Northwest.
The creation of LCEPs coincides with a push for more rigour around understanding impact in the cultural education sector. A key challenge for the voluntary and community sector, in particular small organisations, is developing their role in the partnerships and meeting the challenge of providing robust but proportionate evidence of the change they are making.
Curious Minds believes there is value in co-producing a theory of change for each of the LCEPs. This can set them up to provide more robust evidence of the change that is occurring as a result of the partnership activities. Ensuring that representatives of the voluntary and community sector in each area are a key part of the process can strengthen their involvement in the LCEPs and, at the same time, build the capacity of organisations across the North West. This potentially can be a model for developing these partnerships in other areas.
We hope that through this new project, members of the partnership will be able to recognise how they can contribute to a growing body of evidence about cultural education in a meaningful way. If you would like to learn more about this, get in touch with Mary McKaskill.
In May this year, the Centre began working with the Local Government Association to update the Catalyst Framework of Outcomes for Young People (originally published in 2012) in line with LGA’s Bright Futures: Our Vision for Youth Services. We spent the summer working with our network leads, talking to commissioners, elected members and practitioners, and are now coming to the end of a first phase of work to update the original ‘clusters of capabilities’ and set the new framework in context. The final draft framework will be launched at the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Manchester next week.
We’re really pleased to announce that LGA has decided to support a second phase of the work, enabling us to continue working with the Centre’s network leads to support the process of putting the framework into practice. We’ll also be working closely with the NYA as part of the second phase, aligning with their forthcoming revised commissioning guidance and thinking through the implications of the new framework. The Framework will be published on our website next week, and we will also share more details about our plans for phase two. For more information, please contact Steve Hillman.
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