The IARS International Institute logo

Provider: The IARS International Institute

Location:
  • London

Website: http://www.iars.org.uk/

Contact:a.ntziadima@iars.org.uk

Sector experience:

Areas of expertise:

Organisation overview:

The IARS International Institute was informally set up in 2001 to act as an international network on youth matters. Since then we have expanded our remit to cover three areas work: Youth, Equalities and Justice. IARS is now recognised as one of the world's leading user-led Institutes with a mission "To give everyone a chance to forge a safer, fairer and more inclusive society". Since our inception, we have been providing voice and educational programmes as well as non-profit research, evaluations, policy and networking serices of local, national and international significance. We are focused on empowering the most marginalised communities through direct service delivery, while enabling organisations to achieve, measure and improve their social impact. We deliver our mission;
• By empowering margainalised individuals of our society (e.g. young people, abused women, refugees, asylum seeking women, victims, offenders) through accredited educational programmes, mentoring and one-to-one support;
• By acting as an international network of youth NGOs bringing together people and ideas, communicates best practice and encourages debates on current social problems; • • By carrying out action research and evaluation that is independent, credible, peer-reviewed, user-led, focused and current;
• By supporting individuals and grassroots organisations to carry out their own initiatives to shape decision-making and society, and by helping them to maximise their social impact;
• By being an authoritative, independent and evidence-based voice on current policy matters. As part of our Insitute's charitable mission, we offer tailored, independent, credible and evidence-based services helping social ventures from around the world to measure and improve their impact, develop outcomes frameworks and drive efficiency.

We use the Theory of Change and have structures to provide support at the highest standards locally, nationally and internationally. We were one of the approved Cabinet Office providers for the Impact Readiness Fund and we were originally involved in the structuring of the evidende London hub Project Oracle. Our existing research infrastructure includes our international Academic Board and Research Ethics Committee, a peer review journal and IARS Publications. IARS is a CPD accredited training provider and all our training sessions have been developed on extensive research. IARS is an approved member of the Committee on Publication Ethics. This means that IARS work adheres to high ethical standards and we have several kitemarks. Indicatively, our portfolio includes; We are the independent evaluator of the MOPAC funded Restore: London criminal justice service, looking at the quality of the delivered interventions, measuring their impact for victims and offenders and creating datasets and recommendations for the delivery and continuation of the service. We are leading on the 5-year evaluation of the BLF Realising Ambition 'The Anne Frank Trust's Schools and Ambassadors programme aiming to reduce prejudice.

Case study 1: Khulisa

Sector:

  • Mental health & wellbeing

Focus of project:

  • Data management & analysis
  • Developing impact plans
  • Building impact measurement tools
  • Reviewing external evidence

In a three month project, the IARS International Institute was commissioned by Khulisa with the Impact Readiness Fund to help their staff strengthen their organisation. While Khulisa’s programmes had a strong theoretically foundation and delivery record, their staff lacked the knowledge to report their findings in a way to maintain their funders and investors. For Khulisa to expand their services into new sectors such as mental health, the IARS International Institute developed multiple guides including those that helped Khulisa measure their data objectively and a Social Return on Investment bespoke model. Due to the IARS’ engagement with Khulisa’s stakeholders and funders, Khulisa had the chance to identify their position in the charity sector and place in the criminal justice VSCE.
With training from the IARS team and utilization of these models, Khulisa was able to develop their three-year strategy 2017 – 2020 and refocus on expanding their work in schools throughout the UK. Due to the recommendations, Khulisa explored other European funding sources and received resources from the European Commission as part of a 21 partner consortium to develop a project that aims to tackle youth radicalization across Europe.

Case study 2: London Probation Trust

Sector:

  • Mental health & wellbeing

Focus of project:

  • Programme design / theory of change facilitation
  • Data management & analysis
  • Developing new products and services
  • Culture change
  • Building impact measurement tools
  • Reviewing external evidence

The IARS International Institutes was contracted to provide support to London Probation Trust a two year project to develop methods to improve their services for Black and minority ethnic offenders. IARS was responsible for analysing data for past and existing services targeted towards BME Offenders. In result, the IARS helped London Probation Trust develop objectives for improving outcomes for BME offenders. In accordance with the IARS’ findings LPT began to develop and modify their existing practices. After contacting Clinks, another charity in London, the two year project consummated in the creation of the Race in Probation Toolkit: BAME User Involvement in Probation Services that will be used by probation services in order to improve their interventions more effective.
The project offered reforms for the London Probation Trust and shifted the focus from procedures to outcomes which also relied on changes to the collection of consistent data on ethnicity at different stages of the criminal justice system. Since more than half of the LPT’s service users are of BAME background, the project began to implement and adopt new innovative practices in order to support them and provide more practical services.

Case study 2: Detention Action

Sector:

  • Mental health & wellbeing

Focus of project:

  • Programme design / theory of change facilitation
  • Developing impact plans
  • Data management & analysis
  • Developing new products and services
  • Building impact measurement tools
  • Reviewing external evidence

Detention Action, a charity that is striving to offer interventions and alternatives to migrant groups who are at risk of absconding commissioned the IARS International Institute to support and evaluate their Community Support Project. Chiefly, IARS was in charge of monitoring the success of Detention Action’s program. To do this, IARS developed an evaluation methodology and the Theory or Change (ToC) Model in order to identify which indicators point to the intended outcomes. As an ongoing project, IARS will continue to measure the impact of the venture, develop tools; collect data and capacity build Detention Action.
Nearing the end of the project, Detention staff members have gained significant knowledge and insight to the complex needs of migrants at risk of absconding. After each yearly impact report by the IARS and their own evaluation, Detention Action has continued to improve their practices and approaches to offer the highest level of support they are capable of.
The work also resulted in a stronger evidence base that demonstrates young migrant ex-offenders at risk of re-offending do not reoffend or abscond from the Home Office with proper support. With the new evidence base, Detention Actin is better able to replicate a model of community engagement and reintegration support for this group of migrants on a wider geographical basis.