Value for Money and Policy Review of Youth Programmes

The Value for Money and Policy Review of Youth Programmes (VfMPR) (DCYA, 2014b) involved an in-depth scrutiny of three major funding programmes that target disadvantaged young people and are administered by the DCYA. The three schemes that were the subject of the VfMPR are:

  • Special Projects for Youth (SPY)
  • Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund 1 and 2
  • Local Drugs Task Force Projects.

The review makes recommendations for the future operation of the schemes and in relation to their future development to ensure effective, value for money services that are designed to secure the best outcomes for young people. In particular, it recommends that one targeted scheme should replace the existing three schemes and that this new scheme should be based on evidence of what works and clear objectives to be achieved for young people.

As part of the VfMPR, a focused literature review was commissioned, which identifies seven potent mechanisms, or outcomes, that have relevance to DCYA policy objectives.  The review states that:

“In short, these attributes should help young people to be more employable, less likely to engage in problematic drug-taking or alcohol misuse, and less likely to drop out of school and/ or engage in anti-social behaviour.”

These potent mechanisms are set out below.  Note that, in its work to implement the recommendations of the VfMPR, DCYA has used the term proximal outcomes in place of potent mechanisms.

Table 3: Outcomes identified in Value for Money & Policy Review of Youth Programmes
·         Communication skills

·         Confidence and agency

·         Planning and problem-solving

·         Relationships

·         Creativity and imagination

·         Resilience and determination

·         Emotional intelligence


The implementation of the recommendations of the VfMPR has been identified by DCYA and ETBI as a priority area of work in their current MOU. (DCYA and ETBI, 2016).  As such, the ETB Youth Work Plan acknowledges the recommendations arising from the review and endeavours to progress relevant actions in line with these recommendations in conjunction with the DCYA and, where appropriate, with ETB Youth Work Committees.