Listening Fund Evaluation
Between March 2018 - March 2021, The College undertook an evaluation of the Listening Fund for both England and Scotland, which aimed to learn about specific aspects of listening and support youth-focused organisations to develop their practice of listening to young people.
About the Listening Fund
The Listening Fund supports youth-focussed organisations to better listen to young people and to respond to what they hear. The objective is to advance the ability of the youth sector to listen the views and voices of young people, enabling them to have a greater say in shaping the services they receive.
The Listening Fund England ran from March 2018 - 2020, supported by the Blagrave Trust, Comic Relief, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and the National Community Lottery Fund. The Fund supported 22 youth organisations, each receiving between £10,000-£20,000 p.a. over two years.
The Listening Fund Scotland ran from March 2019 - 2021, and it is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, the Corra Foundation, Comic Relief, the Gannochy Trust, and the William Grant Foundation.
Aims of the evaluation
The evaluation aimed to understand and assess the impact of the Listening Fund on the practice of the organisations in receipt of funding, whilst also making a broader contribution to the evidence base around organisational listening. The central research question for the evaluation is: what is the impact of dedicated funder support on organisational listening practice?
The Fund in Scotland includes a further research question reflecting the addition of a ‘development phase’ at the start of the Fund to allow young people to input into fund design. The evaluation of the Fund in Scotland also aims to answer: ‘To what extent have young people shaped the development of the Fund and the actions and decisions of the funders themselves?’
The evaluation sought to improve and deepen learning about various aspects of organisational listening practice, including: the design and mechanics of listening, how to gather feedback from diverse communities, making sense of feedback, and closing the feedback loop. These learning points will not only offer insights for the organisations and funders which are directly involved in the Fund, but will be shared much more widely across the youth sector.
A mixed methods approach
The evaluation for both the Listening Fund England and the Listening Fund Scotland adopted a mixed method approach – drawing on light touch quantitative methods across all partners, and more in-depth qualitative methods for a subsection of partners. The methods included a partner self-assessment tool (via online surveys), telephone interviews, the collection of systematic feedback directly from young people, and in-depth organisational case studies (incorporating one-to-one interviews and deliberative workshops).
The emphasis was on building shared approaches with partners, developing evaluation tools that reflected ‘low stakes accountability’ for partners, but which also generated meaningful and actionable insights. We are particularly proud of our self-assessment survey, which, beyond the Fund evaluation, we see as a useful diagnostic tool for organisations to understand where they are at in terms of their own listening practices. We would welcome the uptake of this tool to support ongoing internal evaluation processes, and it is available for public use here.
The listening feedback survey for young people is also publicly available to use here. it is designed to be light-touch and anonymous, and to enable organisations to gain systematic feedback from young people on their experiences of organisational listening.
The Listening Fund - Scotland
You can read all reports published as part of the Listening Fund Scotland evaluation below.
The Listening Fund Scotland - Final Report
This is the final report of the Listening Fund Scotland evaluation, which concluded in March 2021.
The Listening Fund Scotland - interim report
This is the interim report for the Listening Fund Scotland evaluation and provides key insights into the progress of the Listening Fund that can be actioned over the next year.
The Listening Fund Scotland - summary report
This is the summary report of the mid-point evaluation of the Listening Fund [Scotland].
Listen to our 'In Conversation podcast with Kelly McFadden, Manager at The Listening Fund Scotland and the College's Dr Jo Hickman-Dunne here.
The Listening Fund - England
You can read the full learning report for the Listening Fund England evaluation and the accompanying case study report below, which takes an in-depth look at six partners’ projects.
The Listening Fund Final Learning Report
Listening Fund Case Study Report
This report accompanies the final learning report for the Listening Fundin England, where the findings from the overall evaluation are brought together to identify key learning.
Below are a series of blogs on lessons from the Listening Fund England evaluation.
Further information about the Listening Fund England and Scotland can be found on the project website, including details of partner organisations, announcements, and blogs.
In addition to this evaluation, the Listening Fund in England worked with Real Insight to offer training and support to project partners. This training was delivered to the cohort as seven Learning Sets which form part of a framework aimed to improve partners’ service-user participation. More information on the content of the framework, including learnings from partners and recommendations, can be found here.
Alternatively, if you have any questions about the evaluation, please get in touch with Jo Hickman Dunne .