Looking at impact differently has led to a New Social Finance Model

News archive

Looking at impact differently has led to a New Social Finance Model

Across the various Evolve programmes there is a constant focus on impact. This year sees the implementation of an improved customer service and quality management system. Fortunately, the actual process is more imaginative than our naming, as internally we refer to it all as the Quality Management System, or QMS.

We are constantly working to understand and improve our impact in a number of ways.
Firstly, we want to ensure we do the right things. We have a small number of programmes, yet we need to decide which is most appropriate and then how we tailor to ensure the nearest fit to need. We do this with all our clients, and, while many elements of each programme are the same (as we know they work), the fact we deliver through a trained Health Mentor allows us to adjust to circumstance. We talk to customers to understand the real issues and build accordingly.

Second, what is delivered must be of the right quality and consistently so. Each Health Mentor has a schedule of activities across each week and term. These activities are of different types, from “Wake & Shake” to one-to-one mentoring. Our research shows that variety means positive and predictable impact. The activities are selected, by the Health Mentor, from a bank of proven elements. Each of these elements has a clear definition of quality in terms of its delivery. Each Health Mentor is observed regularly to ensure this quality and to create coaching and development opportunities.

Third, each of us, the client and the Evolve team, are interested in whether we make progress towards and ultimately achieve the objectives we set together. We do this on a number of levels. Mutually agreed measurements are taken at baseline and periodically through the year. Given that objectives may be related to areas like improved behaviour, increasing attendance or classroom engagement, we work hard to build appropriate measurement protocols, usually with the customer. In addition, Evolve has developed its own set of systems for measuring well-being and the classroom environment, called the Wellbeing Compass. Using this tool, we are building an evidence base of individual customer progress and overall Evolve impact.

A fourth area has been the subject of much internal discussion over the last year or so. It has become clear that the impact created by the Health Mentor has positive, lasting consequences. We are finding, and others are pointing out, causal linkages between the improvements we see within the school context and the impact of the later life of each child. Improved mental health, a robust self-confidence, clear aspirations and belief in one’s own agency have positive implications for improved social mobility, economic performance and health through life. Increased learning engagement using improved cognitive function ensure the child does the best they can. And this changes how they might approach and take life chances.

Finding a model to allow identification of these linkages and to make qualified and realistic assumptions about likelihood and value is a core area of investigation. If stems from a seemingly simple question. If there is future value created in areas other than education, is there a way we can identify this value and draw in more money to help more children?

So far, the results are promising. The justice system has invested in Evolve services. The future value it is interested in is reducing the number of young children draw towards crime. By increasing educational engagement children have more options and, by improving confidence and decision making, those children will make better choices and take better options. The same applies to decisions around health and self-medication. Better choices in these areas literally mean longer lives. And improved qualifications and social skills has been shown to lead to improved lifetime economic performance.

In many areas we are seeing that the Evolve model, the trained Health Mentor as trusted role model, delivering specific, proven activities and messages, create both immediate and future value. Our work to better understand this is called the Full Value Contract or FVC. Progress is being made. We have been supported by Hogan Lovells to develop a legal framework. This work also drove the development of some aspects of the model. For example, it led to a better definition of something we call the Universally Trusted Proxy. The UTP provides the mathematical linkage between immediate and future value. We are making good progress in using the UTP to build real impact models. We believe such models will create new opportunities to draw in commissioner and investor capital to tackle critical social problems at scale.

Here are two short videos which provide an overview. Please get in touch if you wish to join our exploration.