ADD2357 HeadStart Action 2019-22

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
23 September 2019
Decision by: 
Alice Wilcock, Assistant Director of Team London and Sport

Executive summary

HeadStart Action provides bespoke support to young people aged 14-18 in disadvantaged areas, helping them to gain confidence through social action and developing employability and soft skills. The programme builds on the award winning HeadStart London, which helps to bridge the gap between school and work for 16-18-year-olds in education.

The Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund helps children and young people fulfil their potential, particularly those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime. This fund (as approved in MD2265) is contributing a total of £600,000 to the HeadStart Action programme (£200,000 for phase one in 2018/19, and a round two contribution of £200,000 in 2019/20 and £200,000 in 2020/21). HeadStart Action is delivered by The Challenge, a leading social integration charity which designs and delivers programmes that bring different people together to develop understanding and connecting with others. The Challenge has successfully delivered HeadStart London since its launch in 2014 and co-developed HeadStart Action with Team London.

This decision requests permission to spend up to an additional £50,000 for HeadStart Action, comprising £20,000 support grant funding and £30,000 for the external evaluation of the programme.


That the Assistant Director of Team London approves:

1. A grant of £20,000 in 2019/20 to The Challenge to fund additional support required by delivery partners as part of the developmental approach to programme delivery. This will take the total grant awarded for round two of HeadStart Action up to £420,000.

2. Expenditure of up to £30,000 for the external evaluation of the programme.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

HeadStart Action is a geographically and demographically focused personal and social development programme targeted at young people who are at risk of becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training) and require greater support to be in education, employment or training. The programme was designed and piloted in 2018 by The Challenge in partnership with The Mayor of London and Lendlease, supporting young people in Southwark.

HeadStart Action builds on the success of HeadStart, a programme created by The Challenge in partnership with Team London and leading businesses to help young people become socially active in their local community, whilst gaining the skills, experience and networks they need to get ahead. To date HeadStart has supported over 8,000 young people to commit over 140,000 hours of volunteering to improve their local community, 5,000 young people have attended employability workshops, over 3,000 have attended an interview for job or an internship and over 80% of young people who have attended an interview are considered job ready by HeadStart employer partners.

MD2265 (May 2018) approved the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund, to help children and young people fulfil their potential, particularly those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime. The fund supports a range of education, sport, cultural and other activities for young people aged 10 to 21. £45m is committed over a three-year period from 2018, including £15m which will be invested to scale up existing projects funded by City Hall.

Delivery and commissioning of activity will vary across each City Hall scale up project. Activity will be commissioned following procurement guidelines. MD2265 approved initial expenditure of £200,000 to scale HeadStart Action across five London areas, supporting at least 100 young people per area in 2018/2019. ADD2230 approved an additional £45,000 to be used for the management of the pilot programme. MD2265 also approved £200,000 in 2019/20 and again in 20/21, dependent on the success of the 2018/19 pilot. This funding has since been released to Team London and will be used for the second round of the programme.

As part of round two delivery we will be utilising learnings gained from the pilot programme. Delivery in round one is working with pre-NEET young people, who have a moderate level of need and are greatly benefitting from the programme. Round one has also attracted those young people with more complex needs and therefore needed more intensive support. In order to support these most vulnerable and marginalised young people it is necessary to utilise the experience of small local organisations who are experts at working with this target group.

These organisations are often unable to attract funding due to size and/or are not able to deliver all areas of the programme at scale. The new model will support up to twelve small grassroots organisations to build their capacity in this area and intensively support smaller numbers of young people, therefore reaching more young people with greater need. £20,000 of grant funding will top up the £200,000 allocated to Team London under cover of MD2265 for 19/20, for which we will enter into a funding agreement with The Challenge.

An external evaluator will be commissioned to measure the impact of the programme on the young people and the impact of this developmental approach on the delivery partners. The evaluation will also support delivery partners to measure the impact of their work and help to secure future funding from the GLA or other sources, improving their sustainability. A competitive process will be completed in order to appoint and enter into a (estimated) two-year contract up to a value of £30,000 with the organisation who will deliver this external evaluation.

In total, for round two of HeadStart Action The Challenge will receive £420,000 via a Funding Agreement, which is expected to comprise of £145,000 in 2019/20, £170,000 in 2020/21 and £105,000 in in 21/22. £100,000 will be retained by The Challenge for the management of the programme, £320,000 will be distributed to the twelve delivery partners which will deliver HeadStart Action. The Challenge will report on progress of outcomes, outputs and milestones to the GLA.

The Challenge will manage the procurement of localised delivery partners, including the issuing of funding agreements and setting key performance indicators (KPIs). Team London will support The Challenge with the implementation of the procurement process, which will include developing the Request For Proposals and guidance documentation, assessing and shortlisting applications, holding clarification meetings and selecting the delivery partners. The Challenge will manage the operational delivery by stakeholders and monitor and track the delivery of KPIs, outcomes and milestones, compile project and budget monitoring reports as well as collecting and presenting data that will feed into the evaluation framework.

As the original co-developer of HeadStart, The Challenge in a unique position to deliver HeadStart Action. They have written and developed HeadStart Action and therefore have the expertise, knowledge and experience to deliver it. The Challenge also have intellectual property rights to HeadStart materials produced, as per the GLA funding agreements. The first HeadStart Action Southwark pilot was delivered in 2017-18. The pilot programme was developed by The Challenge in partnership with Team London. Since then they have used an iterative approach, taking learning to improve and evolve the programme further which has aided its success. Furthermore, they have continued to put this learning into the delivery of HeadStart Action YLF Year 1 and will be taking further learning into Year 2 and 3 delivery.

Objectives and expected outcomes


To work with The Challenge to assist with the procurement of local grassroots delivery partners and support them to deliver round two of HeadStart Action Young Londoners Fund which provides high level intensive support to 180 marginalised and vulnerable young people. Local delivery partners will:

• prepare young people to make the most of their volunteering and HeadStart Action experience;
• inspire and prepare young people for a potential work experience placement with a corporate partner;
• prepare young people to excel in a stressful interview situation;
• reflect on learnings, and prepare for next steps beyond HeadStart Action; and
• review and evaluate the 12 projects in order to shape the future direction of the GLA’s work in this area.

Expected outputs to achieve outcomes

Up to 12 grassroots delivery partners will be supported to:

• capacity build and develop a model to deliver the HeadStart Action programme;
• deliver HeadStart Action supporting 180 young people;
• enable young people to lead and deliver a social action project and take part in a stretching, engaging and professional showcase event which celebrated their achievements;
• provide young people with a guaranteed interview for a paid role or prestigious work experience opportunity;
• give young people the chance to better understand the employment opportunities in London;
• develop partnerships with local organisations, schools and businesses; and
• develop project monitoring, reporting processes and an evaluation framework.

Expected outcomes

For each of the five project areas, the minimum following outcomes will be achieved:

• 180 young people will be more motivated and engaged with education or employment;
• 180 young people will have a more positive sense of who they are and what they can achieve;
• 180 young people will feel more connected with, and trusting of, people from different backgrounds in their local community;
• 180 young people will develop the skills and critical character traits needed to make a positive transition into further education or the world of work; and
• 180 young people will have a better understanding of what employers are looking for in a potential employee.

Equality comments

HeadStart Action works with disadvantaged young people aged 14-18. The programme focuses on young Londoners from diverse and deprived backgrounds who experience significant barriers to participating in social action and volunteering, education and achieving their full potential. The project is accessible to all young people regardless of age, gender reassignment, disability, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy. Promotion, content and delivery of the project will ensure that it does not stereotype and provides open access to individuals who are interested in joining the project, in particular one which is of interest to them.

The project has been designed to include a needs assessment at the start of the project so that adjustments or additional support can be put in place for each young person to ensure access to the different elements of the programme. Where the project is unable to meet a young person’s needs because of the nature and complexity of need, young people will be signposted to the appropriate support services or projects.

HeadStart Action will support the London Boroughs with the greatest need, ensuring a wide range of young people can benefit from the programme by becoming active citizens through volunteering and developing their employability skills in preparation for a path towards employment, education or training. The projects will be placed-based, ensuring they are delivered by localised partnerships making the delivery and content relevant to young people and addressing localised needs and barriers to education and employment.

Other considerations
  1. Key risks and issues



Risk Description

Mitigation / Risk Response

Probability (1-4)





The Challenge do not manage the project satisfactorily


A grant agreement will be issued which will set out clear project management responsibilities in delivering the project objectives and measurable outputs and outcomes. Team London will manage the performance of

The Challenge through monthly project monitoring meetings, weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting of outputs and outcomes. Team London will also attend project review meetings with delivery partners led by The Challenge.





Recent changes in the partnership between the Challenge and NCST may put the operational sustainability of the Challenge at risk

Team London is a joint partner in the programme and project methodology etc can be transferred to the GLA in a worst-case scenario and the model delivered by a new delivery partner





The delivery partners are underperforming against the agreed project outputs and outcomes.

The risk is low and will be mitigated through Team London working closely with The Challenge through reviewing project management and project monitoring through monthly meetings and review processes. Any issues will be identified, raised and dealt with through the reporting structure.





A low number of applications in response to the RFP

This risk is low and will be mitigated through Team London and The Challenge drawing up a communications plan to ensure all existing/new networks and social media channels are utilised to promote the funding opportunity. The scope of the project has been adapted due to the type of applications received during Round One.





  1. Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities


  • The Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund enables the GLA to support the delivery of objectives set out in his vision for young Londoners ‘City for All Young Londoners’.
  • The Young Londoners Fund will have a major focus on improving the safety of young Londoners, help schools and local communities improve young people’s resilience, aspiration and ambition and develop new preventative solutions to tackling violence and knife crime. The YLF will therefore play a role in delivery of the Mayor’s Thrive London programme and his Knife Crime Prevention Strategy.
  • The programme will also increase social mobility. HeadStart Action will work with a wide demographic of Londoners, encouraging active participation in community and civic life. It will support young Londoners in volunteering and will help them to take action to improve our city.
  • It will support young Londoners with the employment, education and training that they need, as well as meeting the business needs of our ever-growing city. HeadStart Action will work to improve the skills system here, ensuring provision more closely matches the needs of businesses in growth sectors, so that all Londoners can contribute fully and benefit from the opportunities that our world-class economy generates.
  • The programme will support the Mayor’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion strategy by offering equal opportunities to as many young Londoners as possible.
  • It will also support the Skills Strategy which focuses on equality of participation in the workforce and enabling young Londoners to participate in the work market and be able to live up to their full potential. The programme also highlights the importance to young people of work and being economically active, in a context when finding work can be so challenging for young Londoners, against the current climate of austerity and serious youth violence.
Financial comments

The expenditure of up to £50,000 (of which £20,000 as grant funding to ‘The Challenge’, and up to £30,000 for the external evaluation of the programme), will be funded from the 2019-20 Youth- Community Programme budget within the Team London and Community Sport Unit.

Activity table



Grant agreement signed and returned by the Challenge

August 2019

YLF RFP and application forms published

August 2019

Final date for submission of applications

October 2019

Market Warming Event

October 2019

Applicants notified of decisions

November 2019

Signed funding agreements returned

November 2019

Project Delivery begins

January 2020

Project completion

December 2021

Quarterly Monitoring Report

January 2020 to December 2021

Final evaluation

February 2022

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