Outcomes-based policies

How policy outcomes get evaluated or ‘measured’ raises additional challenges for youth work. Funding tends to be linked to quantitative demands and indicators, does not differentiate between developmental and non- developmental youth work practice, and does not value the additional time and skill needed to engage with the most marginalised young people.  The short-term nature of youth work programmes and funding, presents a challenge in both providing quality work as well as ‘evidence’ of outcomes. ‘In short, it is a pressure to achieve more and in wider area with less resources than before, and it can be brutal for quality’ said one practitioner. This, they argue, is influenced by value for money perspectives and result in work becoming funding led and the long-term vision and process orientation getting lost. The principles and practice of youth work is compromised, making outcomes the driver for the work in some organisations instead of what young people want or need and the ability to be needs responsive reduced.