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An Evaluation of ARTService: A Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service for those Offending, Substance Abusing or at Risk


ARTService was set up in the late 1990s as a three year Mental Health Grant funded CAMHS service. ARTService was a therapeutic service for young offenders (or young people at risk of offending) who have mental health problems, and were difficult to engage in other services. Clients were referred by the local Youth Offending Team, or direct from other sources. Collaborating institutions supporting the service included South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Health Authority, and Lewisham Social Services Department.

ARTService aimed to address various areas of a young person's life and operated with assertive outreach, seeking to engage with troubled young people. Clients saw a range of different professionals. A specialist drugs worker was part of the team. PRB worked with ARTService throughout the life of the project to produce both a qualitative process evaluation of the work of the team, and also a quantitative description of the young people who were referred to it.

What did the research focus on?

The objective of the project was to provide a fully rounded evaluation of all aspects of the ARTService development and delivery.

This included:

  • A process evaluation detailing the setting up of the service. Could ARTService deliver the intervention as planned? What were the main successes, barriers and problems encountered?

  • An audit evaluation detailing the types of referrals received, perceived accessibility of the service, and identifying possible gaps in provision. Who were the ARTService clients and what sort of service did they receive?

  • An outcome evaluation for a set of clients who received the service. How well did ARTService meet its original aims and objectives for reducing offending, etc?

  • A separate qualitative evaluation of the adolescent substance misuse worker's post.

What did the research involve?

The process evaluation documented the setting up and development of the service during the three-year pilot phase. A number of methods were be involved and the final output took the form of a descriptive report. The outcome evaluation design was quasi-experimental, with two quantitative assessments of the young people before intervention, and at the end of intervention. At each time point a battery of measures were administered measuring aspects of psychological/behavioural problems, offending behaviour, educational and occupational involvement, family relationships, substance use and service expectation and evaluation questions.

Timescale and final products of the research

The evaluation was funded for three years from April 1999. Data collection related to the evaluation of the programme of interventions began in mid 1999. Progress reports were produced at regular intervals and a full final report bringing together the various elements of the project was submitted in April 2002.

Hagell A and Brazier L (2002) Evaluation of Ashby Road Therapy Service (ARTService). (Unpublished Executive Summary presented to ARTService, SLAM and Lewisham Social Service Department). Click here for the Summary:

See Publications for further details.

Last updated July 2004