NACRO Social Impact Research

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report


Nacro is a national social justice charity with over 50 years’ experience of changing lives, building stronger communities and opportunities for everyone to have a second chance in life. Nacro’s mission is to work every day to give people the help they need and campaign to achieve our vision of a society where everyone has the chance to succeed. They deliver the national Bail and Accommodation Support Service on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), housing prison leavers on Home Detention Curfew and those bailed from court in need of an address. They also run a national helpline for individuals with criminal records providing expertise on disclosure, including military convictions, and supporting employers with employment practices for people with criminal convictions.
The aim of this research is to develop a Theory of Change and Social Impact Measurement Framework for Nacro’s services (Education, Housing, and Justice and Health). Social impact measurement is critical in England and Wales, with the Department of Trade and Industry (2012) stating that:
“We (the UK Government) do believe there are real economic and social gains for organisations that use appropriate mechanisms to evaluate their impact and improve their performance” (Department of Trade and Industry, 2002: 76).
The emphasis on social impact measurement and the increased scrutiny of public spending (Prowle, Murphy and Prowle, 2014) have increased expectations by funders and commissioners on organisations to provide information on the social impact of funded and commissioned activities (Clifford and Hazenberg, 2015). Demonstrating value for money is pivotal, not only for securing future funding, but for demonstrating effective service delivery (Clifford and Hazenberg, 2015). Furthermore, social impact measurement allows organisations to constantly refine social interventions and undertake evidence-based organisational development, which is critical for developing effective and sustainable services (Hazenberg, Seddon and Denny, 2014).
Through qualitative interviews with key stakeholders (i.e. Service Managers) across different Nacro services (n = 10), a Theory of Change that identified common areas across the services was identified (Appendix A). This was cross-examined with existing quantitative data provided by Nacro (for example, Outcome Stars) and publicly available data to identify the social impact of the services. This information was integrated with the University of Northampton’s Social Impact Matrix©, leading to the development of a Social Impact Measurement Framework.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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