Funding news

Justice Data Lab launched to help charities - 2 April 2013

A new initiative to help voluntary sector organisations access data about reoffending has been launched by the Ministry of Justice.

The move is intended to help smaller charities get the data they need to prove their effectiveness and help them win contracts in the government’s reforms to the probation service, known as Transforming Rehabilitation.

The Justice Data Lab will allow charities that work with people at risk of reoffending to enter details of the people they work with and receive information about how the cohort compares with a control group taken from the national database over a one-year period.

The Ministry of Justice intends to publish all the results it receives in a quarterly review, and possibly on the website, so that charities get the widest possible information about the most effective interventions.

The project has been produced in partnership with the charity sector research specialist New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), which started working on the idea about 18 months ago.

David Pritchard, head of measurement and evaluation at NPC, said the data lab would allow organisations to evaluate their impact, benchmark against their peers and provide evidence of their effectiveness to prime contractors.

Pritchard also said he hoped similar systems could be used elsewhere in government – for example, with the unemployed or with at-risk children.