EVALUATION OF THE DOMESTIC ABUSE SERVICE DEVELOPMENT FUND 2000-2002
SECTION ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 This report presents the findings of an evaluation of the Domestic Abuse Service Development Fund (DASDF) 1, commissioned by the Scottish Executive and carried out by Reid - Howie Associates Ltd from late May - September 2003. The overall goal of the study was to evaluate the operation and impact of the Fund, through the examination of funded projects, in order to provide information to assist Ministers in decisions about the future of the Fund and its criteria.
1.2 The report is in four sections. This section outlines the context and methodology and provides an overview of funded initiatives, and Section 2 provides further details of the work carried out by the projects. Section 3 explores overall perceptions of the Fund and Section 4 identifies the conclusions and recommendations which can be drawn from the data.
BACKGROUND TO THE RESEARCH
1.3 There is a clear commitment in Scotland to addressing and preventing domestic abuse at a national and local level. A series of local, national and international reports in the late 1990s highlighted a number of concerns and themes relating to tackling domestic abuse in Scotland. These included: the extent and effects of domestic abuse; the response within and between some organisations to those experiencing domestic abuse and constraints to access to services. The Scottish Partnership on Domestic Abuse was established in June 1998 to develop a national response to these concerns, and the Partnership prepared a National Strategy 2 to provide the framework for a coherent approach.
1.4 A National Group to Address Domestic Abuse in Scotland 3 was established in 2001 to take national developments forward, with a remit 4 to:
- Oversee the implementation of the National Strategy to Address Domestic Abuse in Scotland, in accordance with the priorities set out in the Action Plan.
- Identify and disseminate good practice.
- Identify key issues and develop a common national response.
- Provide advice in relation to monitoring data and the identification of research required.
- Establish and oversee a structure of specific issue-based groups and local multi-agency groups working within a coherent framework.
- Review and monitor progress against the Action Plan.
- Consider links between domestic abuse and the wider issues of violence against women.
1.5 At a local level, many multi-agency partnerships are undertaking work to address domestic abuse, much of which is supported by the Fund.
The Domestic Abuse Service Development Fund
1.6 The Fund was established in 1999 to provide financial support to projects which would assist in developing local measures to promote work in the National Strategy. It was intended that the Fund should support local measures with the following purposes:
- Prevention of domestic abuse (recognising a broad definition of preventive work, including social / attitudinal change and physical / other changes which would prevent violence).
- Protection (from harassment or repeat victimisation) of those who experienced domestic abuse.
- Provision (of adequate services to provide an appropriate response to women and children who experienced domestic abuse, which would enable them to rebuild their lives).
1.7 It was also intended that the Fund should:
- Support improvements, rather than replacing existing funding arrangements.
- Encourage effective multi-agency working (either through establishing this or strengthening existing arrangements).
1.8 The Fund did not provide funding for accommodation provision, as a further 2m was allocated by Scottish Homes (now Communities Scotland) for this purpose.
1.9 Amongst the other parameters applied to the Fund were that applicants were expected to adopt the definition of domestic abuse within the National Strategy and to demonstrate that a local strategy had developed (or was developing). Individual grants would not exceed 50,000 in a year, but could be made for proposals over one or two years, and these had to be match funded. The proposals had to be built on good practice, to include monitoring and evaluation and effective management arrangements. Revenue costs which could be funded were: salaries and employment costs; training; insurance; administration; publicity; support costs and VAT. Capital costs which could be funded were: equipment; accommodation; furniture and information technology.
1.10 The Scottish Executive invited applications with a closing date of March 2000. These were assessed by an expert panel, and recommendations made to the Ministers, with funding provided until 2002. The Fund was subsequently extended for a further two years to 2004. This research deals with the first phase of the Fund, specifically projects funded from 2000-2002.
THE NEED FOR EVALUATION AND THE NATURE OF THE RESEARCH
1.11 With the first round of funding completed in 2002, it was recognised that there was a need to explore systematically the ways in which DASDF had been used, the impact of the work supported through the Fund and the ways in which it might develop in the future. It was also recognised that the increase in applications in the second round raised key questions about the most appropriate basis for decision making in the future. The purpose of the evaluation was to inform this process.
The key aims
1.12 The key aims of this study were identified as involving the consideration of:
- The work which has been carried out through funded projects, and the impact of this.
- The "success" of projects, and suggested improvements.
- The sustainability of projects.
- The key benefits of the projects to those involved.
- Perceptions of gaps in provision and problems in addressing domestic abuse.
- "Lessons learned" which can assist in the development of work in the future.
The nature of the research
1.13 In order to address these issues, the research involved a number of strands, as follows:
- Examination of documentary material and identification of projects.
- Circulation of a postal questionnaire to all projects funded 2000-2002, and preparation of a database of information about these projects.
- Case studies of 12 projects involving: strategic planning and co-ordination (3); public awareness raising (3); staff or volunteer training and awareness (3); new or extended service provision (3).
- Discussions with members of the National Group.
1.14 Further details of the methodology are provided in Annex 1. All of these methods provided a large amount of information to assist in consideration of the impact and future of the Fund.
1.15 The remainder of this section provides a broad overview of the projects which were funded during the period examined (2000-2002) and one of the first tasks was the identification of "projects" for the study. The Scottish Executive records suggested that, in year 1, a total of 57 "projects" were funded, totalling 1.34m. In year 2, a total of 57 "projects" were funded, totalling 1.38m. Over the two years, a total of 64 "projects" were funded 5. In the course of implementation, however, some authorities had amalgamated their separate "projects" (whilst others treated one award as more than one "project"). The practical effect of this was that, for the purposes of the evaluation, a total of 59 "projects" were identified which mapped directly to the 64 projects described in the Scottish Executive records. Almost all of the projects (56) provided information for the evaluation.
Geographical distribution of funding
1.16 The Fund was distributed throughout Scotland, with projects funded in 31 local authority areas. The only area in which there was no funded project was East Lothian (where no applications were made). There was no specifically funded project in Clackmannanshire, but three projects were promoted across Forth Valley, which covered this area.
1.17 Projects were funded either for one or two years, with the majority funded for two. The largest grant available to a single project was 50,000 per annum. This limit was originally derived by taking the amount of funding available (1.5m) and dividing it by the number of local authorities (32), in order to make sure that all areas could receive funding. The funding was not, however, disbursed on the basis of an even distribution or a limit of 50,000 per area, as it was possible for applications to be received from more than one project in each area. There were varying approaches to application, and some areas appeared to view the 50,000 as an area limit (making application for one project encompassing all of the work in that area) while others made multiple applications for specific individual pieces of work.
1.18 For example, East Renfrewshire and Highland had one project which included a range of work. In other areas (e.g. Fife and Glasgow) applications were made separately for a number different projects which together totalled more than the individual project limit. In yet other areas, applications totalling substantially less than 50,000 per annum were made (e.g. East Ayrshire; Orkney and Shetland). In practice, therefore, although this study identified 59 "projects" over the two year period, it would be wrong to infer that these awards represented only 59 initiatives. The actual number of initiatives which took place as a result of the funding was clearly higher than this and it should be borne in mind that, where reference is made in the report to "projects", some of these will be composite, while others may involve only one initiative. The distribution of funding is summarised in Annex 2.
1.19 A number of areas received substantially more than 50,000 per annum (see Annex 2) and 9 areas received funding which amounted to more than 100,000 across the two years. The areas which received the highest amounts of funding (150,000+) were:
- South Lanarkshire.
- Forth Valley (Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Stirling).
The highest amount provided was just over 217,000.
1.20 The areas which received the lowest amounts of funding (under 40,000) were:
- Scottish Borders.
- Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
- Perth and Kinross.
The lowest amount provided was 15,000.
1.21 There appeared to be a pattern linked to the size of authority, with three of Scotland's largest authorities amongst those receiving the largest awards and the five lowest awards made to smaller island and rural areas. Although there were some exceptions, larger, more urban authorities generally received higher levels of funding than smaller rural and island areas. This pattern of disbursement reflected the applications which were received during the period.
1.22 Most of the projects stated that they covered the whole of a local authority area (with only 4 exceptions), although some of the specific initiatives within the local authority-wide projects covered a smaller area (e.g. the extension of a service covering a particular part of an area).
1.23 Almost three quarters of the projects (73%) received cash as part of their match funding and the main source, as might be expected, was the relevant local authority. Cash contributions were also made by, for example: police forces; health boards; Social Inclusion Partnerships (SIPs); Scottish Homes and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. In two cases, cash match funding came entirely from non-statutory sources.
1.24 "In kind" funding was also common, and a total of 31 (55%) of projects received this. The primary source of "in kind" funding was local authorities, although some "in kind" funding was also provided by police forces and health boards in a small number of cases. The most common forms of this were either free or discounted office accommodation, administrative support, the provision of equipment or staff time (for example managing the project or participating in training). Some practical contributions were also made, such as offering venues and catering for training. In a small number of cases, match funding appeared to be provided on the basis of local authorities purchasing services from the project, or, for example, a university agreeing to waive part of the cost of an evaluation.
The structure and management of projects
1.25 The highest number of projects 6 stated that they were led by local authorities (25, or 45%) or by a non-statutory organisation (21, or 38%). The latter were primarily led by Women's Aid (with the local authority as the statutory applicant). A total of 9 projects (16%) stated that they were led by multi-agency partnerships and one was led jointly by a local authority and NHS Board.
1.26 It had been intended that the Fund would not consider applications from individuals, businesses or organisations acting alone, and this was reflected in practice. In all cases, either more than one organisation was involved in conception / application (e.g. a voluntary organisation with its relevant local authority), or the project was developed under the auspices of a multi-agency partnership.
Employment of staff
1.27 A total of 41 projects (73%) employed new staff, in 52 new posts. More than half (31) were full time, and 11 projects increased the hours of existing staff. The posts had a wide range of designations, and it was not always possible to identify from the title what the post involved, but the most common designation was "Outreach Worker". There were also "Support Workers", "Resource Workers" and "Development Workers", as well as "Co-ordinators" with tasks similar to some of the "Development Workers". More specific titles included "Education Resource Worker", "Rural Refuge Worker, "Family Support Worker" or "Zero Tolerance Development Worker". A small number were clerical posts.
1.28 The posts were located in a range of bases, and the locations of those in the case studies highlight this, with these projects using 7:
- Local authority offices.
- Health Board offices.
- A voluntary sector umbrella organisation or the CVS.
- Women's Aid offices (although one outreach worker noted that her base was also her car and mobile phone).
- The local police station.
Day to day management of projects
1.29 Responsibility for day to day management of the projects largely reflected the pattern of lead organisations, with local authorities and Women's Aid predominating. The highest number (22, or 39%) were managed on a day to day basis by a voluntary sector women's organisation (mostly Women's Aid), in two cases with other organisations. A total of 19 were managed by local authority departments (in 4 cases jointly with other organisations). A small number were managed by partnerships, or health services or police. Only six projects stated that their day to day management involved more than one organisation.
The involvement of multi-agency forums or partnerships
1.30 The majority (48, or 86%) reported that there was an existing multi-agency partnership in their area, in some form, at the start. The remaining 8 areas identified that at that stage such a partnership was planned, or being developed (although, even where partnerships existed, there would have been variation in their development and the work which they undertook).
1.31 Not all of the partnerships were identified as having been involved in projects as "partners". Only around a third of projects stated that the "partners" included a multi-agency group or partnership. Some of these were project-specific partnerships (rather than existing multi-agency domestic abuse / violence against women groups) and involved organisations such as: local authorities; police; health boards; Women's Aid; housing organisations and a Community Safety partnership). Others were existing partnerships (often focusing on domestic abuse / violence against women). In these, in addition to the organisations noted above, members included: other voluntary organisations; SIPs; other criminal justice agencies (e.g. Sheriffs, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal services); representatives of the armed forces and the Benefits Agency.
1.32 Even where the local forum was not involved as a partner, some still received information about the work of the projects. In most cases (45, or 80%), the local partnership was seen to be involved in overseeing the project, although the case studies found some variations in the levels of involvement. Many workers attended partnership meetings, and most partnerships had some input to the overall direction of the work (or were kept informed of progress), but some had a higher level of involvement, such as providing comments on draft documents. The actual delivery of projects, however, often involved only one organisation, particularly where the project involved the extension of an existing service or the development of a new service.
Links to national work
1.33 There were varied views of the ways in which projects believed that their work linked to national work to address domestic abuse 8. Most of the workers in case studies mentioned that the focus of their local work was on the National Strategy. A small number mentioned specifically the shared priorities (prevention, provision and protection). Only a very small number, however, detailed specifically how their work linked to the national objectives, and there was clear variation in the level of knowledge of national work.
1.34 The main means of projects receiving information about national developments and the work of other projects were found to be:
- DASDF network meetings (established by workers to share information between projects and with the Scottish Executive).
- Consultations, conferences and events (including an annual seminar).
- Participation on expert groups.
- National Women's Aid meetings (for affiliated Women's Aid groups).
- Website information.
- Talks to other organisations and visits to / from other forums.
- Annual reports to the Scottish Executive.
1.35 National Group members suggested that they received some information about projects, although this was limited. The Scottish Executive requested information twice a year, but noted that this was not always returned, and Scottish Executive staff did not have the capacity to pursue this.
Existence of local strategies
1.36 The highest number of projects (27, or 48%) identified that there was a local strategy which addressed domestic abuse in the area at the start of the project, and a further 25 indicated that this was planned. Only 4 projects identified that there was no existing or planned strategy in their area (and this involved only one local authority area). The development of strategies through funded projects is discussed in Section 2.
National definition of domestic abuse
1.37 The majority of projects (47, or 84%) stated that the definition of domestic abuse in the National Strategy had been adopted (as was expected by the Fund). A small number of projects (5), however, stated that this was not the case, and one case study worker noted that:
"The Scottish Executive hasn't said anything about it".
1.38 Where definitions differed, there were various reasons for this. Two projects adopted definitions which took a non gender-specific view of the issue (with one reporting that it used the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland's definition). Another felt that the national definition was "too vague". One project used a definition developed by its local forum and agreed by partners and one used a definition which included abuse perpetrated by other family members. In a small number of additional areas, projects stated that they adopted the national definition, while their local strategy used a different one (for example, to include recognition of abuse by women of men and in same sex relationships and to include abuse by carers, financial abuse and abuse within services).
Types of projects
1.39 The initial examination of the project files identified that the Fund supported a wide range of work, which fell into 5 broad categories, detailed in the following table 9:
Table 1: Project work by category
Type of work
Strategic planning and co-ordination
Public awareness raising
Staff or volunteer training and awareness
New or extended service provision
1.40 Many projects identified that they undertook work in more than one of the categories, and there were two main ways in which this came about:
- Where a project was made up of a number of discrete initiatives, each of which involved a different category of work, often individually costed.
- Where a project worked in a number of different categories, but did not necessarily have specific budgets, objectives or staff for each type of work.
1.41 Projects which focused on new or extended service provision were the least likely to undertake work in other categories, and of the 18 cases in which projects undertook work in only one category, 12 (66%) were projects of this type. Generally, those projects which identified that they carried out strategic planning and co-ordination work were most likely to have carried out work in a range of other categories. Of the 22 projects undertaking work of this kind, all had done work of other types, and all but 2 had done more than two types of work. Further details of the actual work undertaken are discussed in Section 2.
Work with specific groups of women and children
1.42 More than half of the projects (31, or 55%) had undertaken work with specific groups of women and children, although only a small proportion had done so with each group. Those identified most frequently were as follows:
- Women in rural areas (14 projects).
- Women with addictions issues (9 projects).
- Young women (9 projects).
- Black and minority ethnic women (8 projects).
In addition, a small number of projects mentioned work with disabled women, asylum seekers/refugees and women whose partners were involved in some form of intervention.
1.43 Most of the projects working with specific groups were those providing new or extended services. Examples 10 of the types of work undertaken included:
- Rural outreach work and the development of Women's Aid or other services in rural areas (e.g. Orkney; Highland; Angus).
- Provision of direct support to a specific group (e.g. to heroin dependent women in Dumfries and Galloway and black and minority ethnic women in Edinburgh).
- Conferences and events aimed specifically at particular groups of women (e.g. training seminars for deaf women in Fife; groupwork in Aberdeenshire with rural women; awareness raising with women offenders in Renfrewshire; awareness raising and training for black and minority ethnic women in a project in Fife).
- Work with young women (e.g. work in schools in a range of areas).
Evaluation of projects
1.44 Only a fifth of projects (11, or 20%) identified that they had been evaluated, or that this was taking place (and only a very small number had evaluated specific aspects of their work in detail). Some projects had undertaken some form of internal "evaluation". A number of projects which undertook training, public awareness raising or service delivery identified that they had gathered some information from participants and service users, although it was not always clear whether the information had been analysed or summarised and it was rarely provided. For many projects, evaluation focused on gathering information which formed the basis of the regular progress reports required by the Scottish Executive. In addition, most projects also provided reports to either a local authority, a management committee or a multi-agency partnership, but these again tended to comprise progress, rather than evaluation reports. Generally, it was found that formal, detailed evaluation and monitoring of the projects was limited. Where evaluation findings were available, these were included in the examination of the impact of the projects (discussed later), but the main source of information for this study was from the postal questionnaires and case studies.