The Alexi Project report details the evaluation of a programme of service development as it was rolled out through 16 new services, which were designed to extend the coverage and reach of child sexual exploitation (CSE) services in England. The 16 services were funded by the Child Sexual Exploitation Funders’ Alliance (CSEFA) and were all established by voluntary sector organisations that specialised in working with young people affected by CSE. Each service adopted a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model of service development, which involved an established voluntary sector CSE service (known as the ‘hub’), locating experienced project workers (known as ‘spokes’) in new service delivery areas. These spoke workers undertook a range of activities to improve CSE work locally, including individual casework and awareness-raising with children and young people, and consultancy, training and awareness-raising with professionals locally.
The evaluation adopted a realist approach. This focusses not just on whether programmes or interventions work, but on how or why they might do so (Pawson and Tilley, 1997 ). It takes a theory-driven approach to evaluation rather than concentrating on particular types of evidence or focussing on ‘before’ and ‘after’ type data. It starts from the principle that interventions in themselves do not either ‘work’ or ‘not work’ – rather it is the people involved in them and the skills, attitudes, knowledge and approach they bring, together with the influence of context and resources, that determine the outcomes generated.
The evaluation was undertaken between September 2013 and January 2017, exploring how the 16 services eveloped during a phased roll out. The evaluation team undertook extensive fieldwork at each site on two occasions (one visit for the final eight sites), including 276 interviews with Hub and Spoke staff, professionals locally from children’s services, police, and health, and with children and young people and parents/carers. In addition, quantitative data were collected (about numbers of young people and professionals reached), and spoke workers produced case studies about their work with young people.
The final evaluation report was published on 29th November 2017, and can be accessed at the publications page, or below. It contains a series of findings about the impact and reach of the project, the role of the voluntry sector in responding to CSE, conditions for effective partnerships between the voluntary and statutory sector and the use of the Hub and Spoke model for expanding services. It will be of particualr interest to funders, commissioners providers and partners of specialist CSE services.
The Alexi Project website contains all the project's publications and resources, as well as the project blog. This includes:
For further information on this project please contact Julie Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking
University of Bedfordshire