Early intervention charities urged to back effectiveness claims with evidence

Charities have been warned they risk losing trust and public funding if they overstate their contribution to resolving social problems.

NPC chief executive Dan Corry is urging charities to use rigorous, evidence-based approaches to measuring and proving which early intervention methods work, and to discontinue those that are ineffective.

“Over-claiming by those in the early prevention world can be as much an obstacle to success as failing to make the case at all. The treasury has heard it all before from charities and ministers. Making the case for early intervention is crucial—but you need the evidence to back it up,” Corry said.

In published notes on an address to the Early Intervention: Policy and Practice conference today, the former senior treasury advisor said senior charity staff will be key to developing a more rigorous approach to evaluating their work.

Charities should work together more closely and share results, Corry said, considering which interventions are succeeding and which are failing.

He also urged charities not to be put off by the challenges they face.

“Early intervention is the hardest type of work to evaluate,” he said. “But it is also the most important place to uncover what works and what doesn’t.”

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