An independent study by Pro Bono Economics has shown that support for disadvantaged young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) can help deliver long term benefits to the public purse.

An evaluation into our Choices Programme instigated by charity Pro Bono Economics (PBE) concluded that between £3.50 and £4.00 of savings to the exchequer were delivered for every £1 spent on employment support offered through Choices. The programme helps young people overcome barriers and disadvantage to access education and employment opportunities.

In 2014, Choices expanded from a small south London pilot thanks to support from HSBC under its Opportunity Partnership programme to cover London, Cardiff and Leeds. PBE provided a team to conduct an evaluation of Choices in the first year that it operated nationally.

The study, completed by economists from Economic Policy Associates and Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), concluded that Choices helps young people who are harder to reach than the average young person and that the intensive, flexible nature of the support won their confidence.

The resulting overall benefit of Choices was estimated to be £1.58 million (using an HM Treasury social discount rate of future benefits of 3.5%).

This is the second PBE evaluation of St Giles Trust, the first looked at our Through the Gates programme in 2010.

Rob Owen Chief Executive of St Giles Trust said:

“I would like to give a huge thank you to Pro Bono Economics for this second important evaluation and to HSBC who have helped us support many more young people to overcome often extreme disadvantage to turn their lives around. This evaluation proves once more that prevention is better – and cheaper – than cure. Young people deserve to have the opportunity to make full use of their potential and feel like society has invested in them. Sadly, those suffering barriers and disadvantage often slip through the net. But given the right help we can prevent their problems escalating and save costs further down the line.”

Julia Grant Chief Executive of PBE said:

“We all know there are tough times ahead, only last month 4Children closed down, a £30m charity with 45,000 children in its care. So the need for charities like St Giles Trust to use data and evidence to drive their own hard choices has never been more real. PBE is here to help with that challenge and promote the value of doing good and doing it well.”

Click here to download an executive summary and here to download the full report.