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Are we doing it consistently well | Practical tools and tips

Starting with the basics, your youth organisation can look at organisational quality marks, such as those developed by NYA and UK Youth, which provide checklists and guidance to ensure you are providing a safe environment for both young people and your team and complying with statutory and legal requirements. There are also some frameworks for quality delivery in particular types of work with young people, such as Hear by Right, which supports youth participation, Delivering With and Delivering Well for child and adolescent mental health services, and One to One Support, a quality framework for mentoring and similar programmes. 


Starting point

Start here if you are a youth practitioner new to evaluation and quality improvement design:

Asking good questions about programme quality and consistency

If you’re new to this, then this introduction and workbook developed by the College is a great place to begin. It will help you think through this question and introduce you to various standards, and quality marks specific to working with young people. Includes information about the new Youth Programme Quality Intervention pilot project.

Download the workbook

Ensuring your program meets the NYA Quality Mark standard

The National Youth Agency Quality Mark enables organisations, however large or small, to reflect upon and review the services they offer young people, exploring ways to develop and provide youth work to the best possible standard.

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Evaluating the quality of a programme and identifying training needs

If you’re looking for a tool to conduct an assessment of your own programmes and activities, the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) PQA could be a good starting point. This tool will help you observe the quality of your programmes, identify training needs for your team, and repeated use can enable tracking of progress over time. 

We can support you to use this tool as part of the Youth Programme Quality Intervention (YPQI) programme. 

Read about the YPQI


Resources to build on your experience of evaluation frameworks and continuous quality improvement:

The Confidence Framework​

If you’re looking for a way to get an overall picture of the quality of your programmes, this tool will walk you through an in-depth self-assessment  and learning  process. It is a way of reflecting on the strength and overall balance of different types of evidence for your offer, and identifying where developments or changes could improve the quality, consistency and impact of your offer

Read the framework

How data savvy is your organisation?​

If you’re looking to gain insight into how mature your data use and data processes are today, you can take the free ‘taster’ self-assessment from Data Orchard (five minute activity). The self-assessment covers seven key areas, and the results will indicate where your organisation is on a five-stage data maturity journey. 

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A jargon buster of scientific research terminology​

Helpful explanations of key technical terms used throughout published research and studies about youth outcomes​.

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Read: How to approach data collection through a DEI lens

If you’re looking for practical advice on how to approach collection of data through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens, you’ll find useful guidance here from Project Evident. ​

Read the report

Read: Real case studies of organisations using data to improve programme quality

If you’re looking for inspiration from other organisations, this 2021 report from Open Data Manchester and the Data Collective presents case studies from 5 organisations who used data to generate insights that improved the quality of their program and their impact.

Read the report

Youth Programme Quality Intervention​

The College has piloted and now promotes the use of the Youth Programme Quality Intervention (YPQI). The quality tool is available to use in full to understand the quality of youth provision or in its component parts, so organisations can embed one piece at a time.  Watch a video introducing the SEL PQA below. 


Watch here

Just Quality hub

The Just Quality hub is packed full of resources to help you reflect and improve on your practices that support young people’s socio-emotional skills development. 

Explore here

YPQI Support hub

Learn more about how the Youth Programme Quality Intervention can support you to observe and improve on the quality of your work with young people, including how you build high-quality supportive relationships. 

Explore here
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Case Study

One organisation developed a definition of ‘high quality practice’ using the mechanisms of change in their theory of change. They took specific mechanisms – for example, ‘young people feel safe’ - and spent time as a team reflecting on how staff could enable this to happen in practice. They then introduced new training content to build staff and volunteer confidence in creating safe spaces. They developed a new system of peer observations where staff could observe each other, against the new framework of quality, provide constructive and supportive feedback and learn from each other. This feedback now supports staff in reflecting on their practice and identifying specific areas for development. Building greater confidence and ensuring youth voice was at the heart of their process. They introduced new feedback questions to check whether young people felt that the organisation delivered ‘high quality’ work in line with how they had defined it.