Our Design Principles

Co-design and young people’s voice

Co-design is at the centre of our approach. Working closely with an evolving core-group of grantees, we are developing a shared approach to outcomes measurement.  Through meetings, calls, visits and surveys, we are testing our proposals and piloting our approaches with all grantees.  Young people’s voice is central: we believe that young people are uniquely able to explain their relationship with the provision in which they participate and should have systematic opportunities for doing so. We are testing our understanding and data collection processes with groups of young people as well as grantees. We are always open to feedback and welcome comments on our proposed evaluation approach.



All activity and outputs take into account the context and motivation of the youth sector and evaluation will ‘go with the grain’ of delivery.  The emphasis of evaluation activity will be on feasible, ethical and insightful approaches that enhance, rather than undermine or detract from, relationships between young people and practitioners.  We are piloting all our data collection approaches before rolling them out, to ensure they are practical for organisations to adopt and generate genuinely useful insights that can be used to improve impact.



Our approach is based on testing, learning and improving.  Learning encompasses both ‘what works’ and ‘how to best evaluate’. Through data analysis and our process evaluations in years 2 and 3 of the project, we aim to identify what features of provision are most effective and for which groups of young people. We want to get data collection right, so we will pilot and refine all our processes before we begin data collection in full.  We will facilitate learning and connectivity across the Youth Investment Fund grantees through capacity building and local networks.  And more widely, we will share learning with the sector as we go, through insight papers, blogs and events.



Pooling data, sharing measurement tools and working towards shared goals can make evaluation more meaningful and effective, as well as saving time for individual organisations. Together, we can generate a stronger evidence base about the impact of open access youth provision.  Beyond the Youth Investment Fund, the Learning Project will generate learning that is relevant for the wider youth sector and we will look for opportunities to work with those haven’t received funding to learn from their experiences too.