• News item

London’s Your Choice programme enters full-scale Efficacy trial phase

This briefing alerts members to the recent publication of the Your Choice Pilot trial report by the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF). The report, which assessed the feasibility of running a full-scale Efficacy trial (impact evaluation) to evaluate Your Choice, concluded that the programme and its evaluation show sufficient promise to merit further funding from YEF. The Efficacy trial, which began this August will run until December 2024 and is expected to involve around 1,500 young Londoners. The impacts of the Your Choice programme will be reported in the Efficacy report, which is due to be released in August 2025.

The Your Choice programme

The Your Choice programme is a new pan-London violence reduction programme that brings together best practice in adolescent safeguarding and emphasises a child first approach to working with young people affected by violence. The programme was designed in late 2021 by the London Innovation and Improvement Alliance (LIIA) on behalf of the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services (ALDCS) in partnership with the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit.  The programme, which places trusted relationships at its centre, has been delivered by specially trained youth practitioners in all of London’s 32 boroughs. Your Choice practitioners work with young Londoners between 11 and 18 at risk of contextual harm, using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) tools and techniques for a 12-to-18-week period. Specialist clinical supervision is built into the programme for Your Choice practitioners, to support them in their work with young people and to help them manage the impact of their repeated exposure to trauma through their work.

We introduced Your Choice to Members in a previous briefing. The timeline below illustrates the different funding, delivery and evaluation stages.

The London Young People Study (LYPS)

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the Anna Freud Centre (AFC) have been commissioned by the Youth Endowment Fund to evaluate the programme’s impact on young people in comparison with other forms of support young people receive. The methodology used is a combination of a Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) and qualitative methodologies. This robust evaluation is referred to as the London Young People Study (LYPS) and was piloted from April 2022 to March 2023.

The successful completion of the Pilot trial, which ran in all 32 London boroughs, enabled the progression to a £6.5 million full-scale Efficacy trial across London. Whilst the Pilot considered the evaluation design of the study and the promise of the programme, the Efficacy trial will assess the success of the Your Choice intervention.

You can read the Pilot Trial Report here.  

It is a significant achievement for London to have come this far. Not only is Your Choice the largest study in YEF’s themed grant round portfolio to date, but out of the 52 funded projects, only 17 have progressed to full-scale Efficacy.

The Efficacy trial, running from August 2023 to December 2024, is expected to involve 1,500 young Londoners at medium to high risk of extra-familial harm as well as around 500 youth practitioners from 30 local authorities.

The breadth and depth of the evaluation methodology means that the impact of the programme will be assessed across a wide range of Children’s Services including Edge of Care, education and youth justice services.

Through their engagement in the London Young People Study (LYPS), London’s local authorities will contribute to the evidence base for an underrepresented cohort of young people. This could help make the case for investment in this approach to adolescent safeguarding and consequently influence national policy and practice.

LIIA will continue to keep you informed about the progress of the pan-London Your Choice evaluation. In the meantime, we encourage you to catch up with your borough’s Your Choice programme leads who will be able provide insight into the local programme delivery and its evaluation. 

The Pilot report included some encouraging quotes from young people and practitioners, with examples below:

“[Working with practitioner] really opened my eyes about who you surround yourself with makes an image of who you are ... I was chilling with people who were obviously missing school, misbehaving, had involvement with drugs, weapons, stuff like that, and the group I’m chilling with now are all people who are trying to be things”. (Young person on the programme, Your Choice Pilot Report p.88)

“I think it’s great that the model is about investing in [practitioners] and teaching them additional clinical skills” (Manager, Your Choice Pilot Report p.89)

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