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National Evaluation of the Youth Justice Board’s Parenting Programme


In Spring 1999 the Youth Justice Board (YJB) invited applications from the new Youth Offending Teams (Yots), to provide services, in partnership with other statutory and voluntary agencies, to young offenders and their families. The services to be provided were organised around seven programmes, aimed at preventing and reducing youth offending by supporting young people and/or their parents in a variety of different ways.

There was a particular policy interest in assessing the impact of the services when provided alongside some of the changes and new disposals introduced in the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) and the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act (1999) - for example, the new Parenting Orders, Reparation Orders, and Reprimands and Final Warnings. The seven programmes were: Supported Accommodation, Restorative Justice, Mentoring, Drugs and Alcohol, Cognitive Behaviour, Employment, Education and Training, and Parenting. The Policy Research Bureau was appointed to act as National Evaluator for the Board of the Parenting Programme.

What did the research focus on?

Approximately 40 different services were funded under the Parenting Programme, all in England, and most ran for 2½ years in the first instance. The impact and success of each individual service was locally evaluated, but PRB’s role was to co-ordinate and orchestrate the local evaluations so that a coherent picture emerged from the varied data that individual projects collected. Our aim was to explore ‘what works’ in parenting support services to prevent youth offending, and to assess whether use of a service was associated with positive changes in the behaviour, attitudes and aspirations of young offenders and their families. We assessed the impact of a range of factors, including:

  • the type of intervention or service that was offered
  • who was offered the service (i.e. parents, young people, others)
  • the numbers of families involved
  • how families came to access the service (e.g. via Parenting Orders)
  • how families themselves perceived the service

What did the research involve?

In consultation with the Youth Justice Board and national evaluators for the related programmes, PRB designed a protocol for data collection which local evaluators implemented. Data was collected from files, staff, parents and young people, at various points over the period of the study.

Data was collected on a range of indicators, including:

  • process data (how successfully the services were set up and kept running)
  • attendance, compliance and client satisfaction rates

and changes in:

  • the social circumstances of young people and their families
  • attitudes of young people and their families to offending
  • parenting attitudes, behaviours and confidence
  • rates of offending and reoffending by young people

PRB supported and assisted local project evaluators in their work, collated their individual results, and undertook analysis of aggregated data for the programme as a whole.


The National Evaluation ran from August 1999 to March 2002. The first wave of data was collected in Autumn 1999 - Spring 2000, to co-incide with entry into the new services by young people and their parents. Subsequent data collection waves assessed the impact of participation in services from the programme.

Final products of the research

A final report to the Youth Justice Board was published in October 2002:

Ghate D and Ramella M (2002) Positive Parenting: The National Evaluation of the Youth Justice Board's Parenting Programme. London: Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.

The full report and research summary are available on the web at:

Research Report:

Research Summary at:

See Publications for further details.

Last updated July 2004