Making It Work for Single Parents – Evaluation Report
The Big Lottery Fund in Scotland invested £7 million in Making It Work (MIW), an innovative programme designed to support lone parents living in complex circumstances. Along with our partner organisations OPFS was heavily involved in the delivery of MIW. The final evaluation report can be downloaded here.
It was delivered from 2013 to 2017 in five local authority areas in Scotland where there are high concentrations of lone parent families: Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire. MIW provided lone parents with intensive support in their journeys toward sustainable employment, based on a model which included signposting and access to existing service provision, key worker and peer group support, and linking between employability and other support services including childcare, health and social care, housing and financial inclusion. Participation in the programme was voluntary.
The MIW Partnerships
The MIW partnerships provided holistic support to lone parents in order to address a range of barriers and challenges pre- and post- employment. These were based on a common model of support which was developed collaboratively through a series of early design and consultation seminars involving the Big Lottery Fund and key agencies with expertise in employability, childcare and direct support for lone parents in Scotland. It is important to note the impact of this approach on the delivery model: MIW drew in particular on experience of previous programmes which identified good practice in supporting disadvantaged parents: tackling barriers to employability and childcare; local flexibility to co-ordinate specialist skills and services; community-based provision; key-workers to provide consistent, flexible and tailored support; stable, longer term funding to mitigate the impact of initial start-up costs and enable learning around effective approaches to be developed and shared; flexible funding regimes to allow support to address local need; support for groups facing the most challenging barriers; performance management frameworks which reflect both ‘hard’ outcomes and distance travelled or ‘soft’ outcomes for those requiring long-term support.