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Evaluation of the New Futures Fund initiative


The New Futures Fund (NFF) takes a holistic approach to employability enhancement, aiming to assist the most disadvantaged target client groups, furthest removed from the labour market, to develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes and attributes they need to acquire to be more employable. It focuses on client groups including homeless people, those with drug and alcohol problems, ex-offenders, young people with chaotic lifestyles, people with mental health issues, people with learning disabilities and multiply disadvantaged people from minority ethnic groups. The evaluation primarily aimed to assess the extent to which the NFF has managed to reach the most disadvantaged unemployed people, and assisted them to overcome barriers to employability and to progress. It also examined the approach used in the initiative.


The evaluation used a range of methods including: visits to 40 NFF projects; ten project case studies; interviews with 40 clients and a survey of over 200 former clients; statistical analysis of NFF monitoring data; and an assessment of the process of mainstreaming the NFF approach.


The feedback of NFF clients and the range of stakeholders is uniformly positive in relation to the value of the NFF approach. The project-based evidence shows that NFF generated additionality in terms of extra employability services delivered, new ways of working with clients and wider access to employability services. Clients perceived that the services offered by NFF projects are very different to those delivered by the conventional providers. There are a number of positive quantitative findings in relation to: the proportions moving into jobs and job-related destinations; the progress within projects towards tackling barriers; and the linkage between progress within projects and subsequent success in relation to employment-related destinations. However, some of the findings raise questions about the appropriateness of NFF for some client groups. Cost estimates for the NFF are high on the average, but very variable. Once the projects are differentiated in terms of cost-effectiveness it becomes clear that the costs of delivering the most effective projects are well below the average figure.


The report suggests that there is sufficiently convincing evidence to warrant a more comprehensive roll-out of the NFF approach in a small number of localities where the service should be made available to a much larger percentage of the client group. It proposes that the service is delivered by different types of organisation in each of a number of localities, and delivery effectiveness is then tested out in practice.

Author Training and Employment Research Unit; Cambridge Policy Consultants; Simon Clark Associates Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Equity
    Equal opportunities
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Skills Development, Economic Inclusion