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December 07, 2005

Sure Start.

A response to those criticisms that Sure Start isn’t helping the kiddies:

Part of the reason is that the programme is difficult to evaluate. It consists of 524 individual programmes, each designed to be autonomous, its services "owned" and determined by the local community. So isolating a Sure Start "effect" is near-impossible.

Wondrous. It’s all so difficult to measure that we’ll never know so we’d better keep spending money on it.

Thanks for that Lisa.

December 7, 2005 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink


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Evaluation IS difficult. Evidence based policy making is not as easy as it sounds. Particularly if you want to allow for local "ownership" by allowing different things to be done in different places. Would it be better if they all did the same thing everywhere irrespective of needs just to make it easier to check whether the programme was working? More generally, there is a serious point about policy evaluation. There is a lot of discussion about the need for good policy evaluation. I'm all for that. But not all evaluation can be heavily quantitiative. An example is the use of market instrument for environmental protection. One of the best reasons to use them, where possible, rather than direct regulation, is the effect on innovation of using the price mechanism. But can/do we really measure that? No

Posted by: rjw | Dec 7, 2005 11:45:56 AM

At least they're being even handed about this and wasting equal amounts of money on other age groups (from today's Grauniad):

"Education inspectors condemned a £2bn government drive to improve basic literacy and numeracy levels among adults as a "depressing" failure today."

Posted by: HJHJ | Dec 7, 2005 4:14:13 PM

Why would someone improve their literacy when "Claim to the Max" is carefully translated into the languages of the UKs most useless immigrants?

Posted by: Rob Read | Dec 7, 2005 5:02:04 PM

I try not to respond to Mr Read's comments, but for God's sake, man, just stop and think about what you're saying. Thank you.

Posted by: mrs mcmuffin | Dec 7, 2005 5:21:16 PM

The true effect of Sure Start are in areas which are immeasureable and that is exactly where the true value of the initiative lies. I have actually visited my local project and seen first hand the good it does, and I can only pray that money is still spent on it as the benefits it yields is invaluable. I praise the people working there, this is something for us as a nation we ought to be really proud of.

Posted by: sp | Dec 22, 2005 12:08:08 AM