National Lottery funded project to change our approach to children at risk of negative outcomes

The Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ), Action for Children, South Lanarkshire Council and the Dartington Service Design Lab are partners on the ‘Inclusion as Prevention’ project, which has been successful in applying for The National Lottery Community Fund Early Action System Change Fund.

The project was one of only eight initiatives across Scotland to be granted this funding.
‘Inclusion as Prevention’ seeks collaboratively to re-shape the design and delivery of preventative services with children and young people in South Lanarkshire who are at risk of offending, and their families.

Through co-design and co-production, the project will re-design services by shifting from an acute and crisis driven approach when a young person becomes involved in offending, to identify and intervene at an earlier point in their lives when they are risk of becoming involved in future offending or other negative outcomes, tackling the root causes of this behaviour.

CYCJ has employed an Improvement Coordinator to support its work in the project. Dr Fern Gillon, whose background is in Early and Effective Intervention (EEI) research, took up the role in April 2019.

Fern said:

“I’m delighted to be working on this innovative project. Its aim of preventing offending and other negative outcomes by promoting inclusion and the more effective delivery of supports and interventions reflects what I have learnt and experienced through my research, which looked at how and why decisions are made in an EEI context and the impact of those decisions.

“It’s also an exciting opportunity to synthesise existing evidence about good practice, to adopt an improvement methodology appropriate for identified interventions and to generate and share new evidence and outputs. I look forward to working in partnership to improve the outcomes achieved by vulnerable children and young people.”

Fiona Steel, Operational Director of Children’s Services at Action for Children, added: “We are proud to be working in partnership with the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice, South Lanarkshire Council and Dartington Service Design Lab to deliver ‘Inclusion as Prevention’ in South Lanarkshire.

“This innovative programme will reshape and design the delivery of preventative services in the region, shifting towards early intervention. We will work to identify trigger points earlier in the lives of young people before they become involved in offending behaviour. This is an important piece of work which will help prevent children, young people and families in South Lanarkshire from reaching crisis point.”

The project will take a phased approach over five years. During the first year, the focus will be on developing a full, baseline understanding of current service and support provision, national best practice, and what system change and re-design is needed in South Lanarkshire, drawing on the complementary areas of expertise and knowledge of the partners, community organisations and local people. Fern’s role at CYCJ will be to gather information about national services, best practices and developments Scotland-wide, and research into prevention, inclusion and early and effective intervention that can inform the project. Action for Children will be reaching out to young people and families within the local community to find out their views about what the issues are and what could make a difference – this will inform how early intervention is shaped.

After identifying the needs and developing a blueprint for service design, phase two will involve testing different approaches to current service provision and interventions and developing local specialist interventions as necessary in Rutherglen and Cambuslang. In phase three, this learning will be used to expand the project throughout South Lanarkshire.

The Early Action System Change Fund tackles the causes of inequality at their roots by bringing together Scotland’s voluntary and public sector organisations to redesign and re-organise their services and help prevent children, young people and families from reaching crisis point.

If you would like to find out more about the project or discuss further, please contact

 Can you help?
The project is conducting a national scoping study into best practice in these areas of work across Scotland. What’s going on in terms of preventing offending in your local authority? Does your
service provide early intervention support? How are you ensuring children at risk of
negative outcomes are included? If you think you can help, please take a moment to complete this short scoping study. 

Contact Us

Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622

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