Current funding opportunities

Invitation to tender: Relationship-based practice and policy, Young People with Care Experience Programme     

Evaluation of Relationship-based practice and policy

Research has demonstrated the positive impact of consistent caring relationships for young people with care experience. However, the reality for many young people within the care system is that relationships with adults can be short-term and unreliable, and as a result they often lack depth. This in turn may compound previous experiences of relationships which have been neglectful, fractured or even abusive. While there is growing recognition at a policy level of the importance of meaningful relationships in achieving successful outcomes, the current practice culture makes implementation of relationship-based practice challenging. 

The Young People with Care Experience Programme expects all of its funded work to contribute to strengthening relationships. However, the Programme is funding two initiatives with particular synergy to the theme of relationship-based practice and policy – Creative and Active Lives and Workforce Development. We wish to commission some distinct evaluation of each of these two initiatives, but we are also keen to explore the relationship-based practice and policy element across both.

As a result, this evaluation project will have two distinct but interrelated parts:

  • an examination of the outcomes achieved individually by the Creative and Active Lives initiative and the Workforce Development initiative
  • a thematic exploration of relationship-based practice and policy across both initiatives, with the aim of assessing if the initiatives are influencing organisational culture and contributing to wider systems change

Project specification

Part One: Evaluation of the Creative and Active Lives and Workforce Development initiatives

Creative and Active Lives

The Trust’s Creative and Active Lives initiative aims to:

  • grow opportunities across a range of creative and active pursuits for young people with care experience
  • enable young people with care experience to increase their skills, wellbeing and social connections
  • build confidence and skills amongst staff, families and carers in relation to creative and active pursuits
  • promote learning from funded projects to support wider and sustained improvements for all young people with care experience

There are 14 funded projects representing an investment of circa £2.7m based in multiple regions across Scotland. These projects began in 2018 – for more details, see our webpages.

We expect the following outcome themes to be the focus of the work of evaluating the Creative and Active Lives initiative:

(i) assessing the effectiveness of the initiative in improving the wellbeing of young people with experience of care, particularly in relation to:

  • whether young people with experience of care have increased in confidence
  • whether young people with experience of care have increased their skills (creative skills/sporting skills/social skills)
  • whether young people with care experience are more likely to engage in creative or active pursuits
  • Determining the impact of the initiative in relation to building capacity and confidence amongst staff, families and carers (research indicates that young people with care experience are more likely to take part in creative/active pursuits if an adult they have a relationship with also takes part)

(ii) assessing the effectiveness of the initiative in raising awareness and improving practice in organisations and services, particularly in relation to:

  • understanding barriers to involvement or continued involvement in creative and active pursuits for young people with care experience
  • overcoming barriers to involvement or continued involvement
  • influencing organisational culture, e.g. staff and carers and/or young people feel more included/engaged
  • the sharing of learning across services or organisations

Workforce Development

The Workforce Development initiative has a focus on strengthening the knowledge and skills of the paid and voluntary workforce so that they are more able to meet the needs and aspirations of care experienced young people.

The specific aims of the funding are to:

  • support the paid and voluntary workforce to put love and relationships at the heart of the care system
  • build a sense of shared purpose and understanding between care experienced young people and the adults who support them

There are 7 funded projects representing an investment of circa £1.4m based in multiple regions across Scotland. These projects largely began in 2019 – for more details, see our webpages.

We expect the following outcome themes to be the focus of the work of evaluating the Workforce Development initiative:

(i) assessing the effectiveness of the initiative in improving the ability of carers and staff to put relationships first, particularly in regard to:

  • whether staff and carers demonstrate belief and trust in young people with care experience
  • whether staff and carers take a flexible approach to relationship boundaries
  • whether staff and carers can offer emotional and practical support to young people with care experience

(ii) assessing the effectiveness of the initiative in raising awareness and improving practice in organisations and services, particularly in relation to:

  • ongoing engagement with young people with care experience in service design, planning or governance
  • improved awareness of the needs and aspirations of young people with care experience
  • changes to internal policies/protocols/practices
  • the sharing of learning across services or organisations

Part Two: thematic exploration of relationships across both initiatives

Both the Creative and Active Lives and the Workforce Development initiatives have a strong focus on relationships. The second part of this evaluation will explore the impact of the projects on relationship-based practice and policy. We are interested in exploring this impact at the organisational/service level, where it has significant potential to create lasting changes for young people with care experience.

We expect these outcome themes to be the focus of this part of the evaluation:

Reviewing the impact of both initiatives on developing relational organisational cultures, particularly in regard to:

  • the ability of staff/carers to flex standard policy and practice to meet the needs of young people with care experience
  • the opportunities for young people with care experience to shape/influence service provision
  • the ability of organisations/services to take a risk informed approach (risk aware as opposed to risk averse)

The Trust is also interested in reviewing the impact of both initiatives in relation to their contribution to wider systems change. More information about this is included in the full tender specification, but we are looking for any evidence that demonstrates that the initiatives are contributing to the following systems change principles:

  • encouraging people to work together on collective solutions
  • supporting the growth of a learning culture within and/or across organisations and services
  • offering more opportunities for people at the frontline/grassroots to take up leadership roles

The funded projects within the Creative and Active Lives initiative and the Workforce Development initiative do currently meet in network groups and we anticipate this will continue during the lifetime of this evaluation.

Submitting a bid

Before you submit a bid, please read carefully the full tender specification, which includes more detail of our expectations and how you should approach your tender. The full tender document is avaiable on Public Contracts Scotland, and can be accessed here.

In your bid, please outline ways in which you will ensure that a broad range of young people with care experience will be engaged in the evaluation in a creative and empowering way. Please note that since the Programme supports work with young people aged 14-26, some of the participants in these initiatives will be under the age of 18 and a thoughtful and robust approach to Safeguarding is needed. 

In addition, please note that the Trust plans to commission a Participatory Evaluation Project, which will recruit, train and support young people with care experience to act as researchers. We will expect the evaluator for the Relationship-based practice and policy initiatives to work closely with the Participatory Evaluation Project so young people can be fully involved in the evaluation process.

The funded projects have their own self-evaluation plans, and we are looking for an evaluator who will add value to this activity. Please consider how you will avoid duplication of effort and engage the projects during the evaluation, e.g. by sharing interim findings.

When creating your tender, please consider how you will work with the Trust on the dissemination of your findings. This should include creating recommendations which can inform our influencing work.

Finally, please note that the Trust has commissioned an overarching evaluation of the Trust’s overall approach. We will expect evaluators to share findings with those who are conducting the high level evaluation of the Trust and to be mindful of the Trust’s timetable for gathering evidence for the purposes of influencing.  More detail can be provided by Mhairi Reid or Catriona Kelly if required (contact details below).

Information that must be included in your bid

Please paint a very clear picture of what your vision for the evaluation is and provide us with appropriate detail in relation to how you will achieve this vision – there is no word length limit for submissions.

Bidders should demonstrate an ability to commit to this work over a period of 18 months (December 2019 to May 2021 – see timescales in the full tender document).

Deadline for bids: Wednesday, 16 October 2019 at 5pm                                          

The full specification with more information and timelines, is available through Public Contracts Scotland (PCS).

Bids should be submitted through PCS, OR sent to ceypapplications@lifechangestrust.org.uk OR posted to Mhairi Reid, Life Changes Trust, Edward House,199 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3EX.

Bids submitted after the deadline will NOT be accepted. It is your responsibility to make sure that your bid reaches the Life Changes Trust by the deadline.

Enquiries should be directed to Mhairi Reid: mhairi.reid@lifechangestrust.org.uk or Catriona Kelly: catriona.kelly@lifechangestrust.org.uk  or via the Public Contracts Scotland portal.

Value of the tender

The value of this tender is in the region of £80,000 over 18 months (inclusive of VAT).