What is On Track?
On Track is a Government programme for preventative crime reduction, aimed at developing multi-agency partnerships and delivering a range of services to children aged four to 12 and their families. The main categories of intervention are home visiting, pre-school education, home-school partnerships, parenting support and training, and family therapy. As the children involved may have missed school and/or may have problems with their literacy, these interventions provide an opportunity to support them - and also their parents, both by encouraging parents to see the importance for children of books and reading, and by signposting them to basic skills provision for themselves if they need it. This kind of programme also provides opportunities for children and their parents to discuss issues in their lives and to develop the language skills needed to do so.
The programme was launched in 1999. By 2004 there were 24 local On Track partnerships in England and Wales, all located in areas of high deprivation and crime. Agencies represented in On Track partnerships include education, health, social services, youth offending teams, the police and the voluntary sector. A research report by Canterbury Christ Church University College showed that On Track works predominantly in and through schools, and accesses the community mainly through school-based workers (1).
On Track was incorporated into the Children's Fund. On Track services will therefore be considered for inclusion in children's trusts alongside Children's Fund services.
For more information visit http://www.crimereduction.homeoffice.gov.uk The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has produced three thematic reports on On Track, which look at Partnership Working, Assessment Referral and Hard-to-Reach Groups, and Community and Schools Engagement. To download the research briefs and full reports visit www.dfes.gov.uk/research The Home Office is also conducting an evaluation of On Track; see below for summaries
(1) On Track Thematic Report: Community and Schools Engagement. Carl Parsons, Brian Austin, Hazel Bryan, Jean Hailes and William Stow, DfES, 2003
Delivering On Track
Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, 2004 This is an evaluation report based on evidence in the early stages of On Track. It identifies the lessons learnt from the project regarding setting up and managing large-scale programmes of this kind. Some of its key findings are:
There was some evidence that the behaviour of children involved in On Track interventions had improved, though caution needs to be taken in measuring impact at this early stage of the programme.
The majority of work has focused on developing services for children. However, all projects have also developed indirect work with parents. Projects had a variety of difficulties to overcome to ensure delivery was achieved, including maintaining staffing levels, managing difficulties with partners and securing good quality accommodation.
There was a lack of joined up thinking between those implementing On Track nationally and agencies, managers and practitioners delivering the programme locally.
LinkFor more details and to download the report in full visit http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/crimereductionprogramme31.htm
Hine, J. and Harrington, V. (2004). Delivering On Track. London: Home Office.
Delivering services to hard to reach children and their families in On Track areas: definition, consultation and needs assessment National Foundation for Educational Research, Home Office Development and Practice Report, 2004
On Track services should be available to all families who might need them in the area covered by local partnerships. However, practitioners became aware that some services were not accessible to certain groups, or that some groups were not coming forward to access them; meeting the needs of those who were seen as 'hard to reach' therefore became a key challenge for the programme.
This paper examines how service providers in a sample of On Track areas define and consult 'hard-to-reach' families and deliver services to them. It finds that definitions of 'hard to reach' varied between and within the agencies represented in local partnerships, but broadly covered minority groups, those 'slipping through the net' and the 'service resistant'.
The paper therefore recommends that practitioners should ensure that any definition of 'hard to reach' groups should be based on evidence, giving access to services for those in greatest need, and that service providers should routinely factor in the costs of consulting with marginalised groups.
Link For more details and to download the report in full visit: http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/antisocialbehaviour33.htm
Doherty, P., Stott, A. and Kinder, K. (2004). Delivering services to hard to reach children and their families in On Track areas: definition, consultation and needs assessment. London: Home Office.