Sharing data and addressing hard to reach NEETs in Cardiff



Young people identified as not in employment, education or training (NEETs) often have complex needs that need to be fully understood in order to get them on the road back to employment or education. To tackle this The City of Cardiff Council worked with service designers from PDR (International Centre for Design & Research) to develop ‘Neighbourhood Panels’ a monthly panel meeting that co-creates detailed action plans for young people identified as NEET within local neighbourhoods. These meetings are designed to facilitate organisations concerned with young people to work together within local areas. Each panel comprises of members from different government and third sector services such as fire, health, police, and education.

Each meeting is structured around finding out the following information about each young person;

  •  Is the young person currently in contact with a member of the panel?
  •  Is there a progression pathway in place?
  • What are the barriers to employment or training?

A new approach to data sharing has enabled Careers Wales and Cardiff Council Youth Services to better share information on the current situation of each young NEET within a specific location. By using a service design approach to introduce this new scheme the panels have identified ways to maximise the benefits of this innovative information sharing initiative.

The Process

The first stage of the design process was to map out all the stakeholders that were involved in the service. From this a stakeholder map was created that will be used by each panel to identify potential new partners within their specific neighbourhood.

Stakeholders were identified through this mapping activity and user research was conducted in the form of interviews. A number of young people as well as their lead workers from the youth services team took part in individual interviews and group workshops.

Another service design method, customer journey mapping was used to help the panel members better understand how effective the interventions and support services sanctioned by the panels were for the young people.

This user journey map is a useful visual way to keep track of what a young person is going through. It can help mentors and young people coordinate the support services. This is important as the Council need to know what has been effective and what hasn’t and also because the simpler it is for young people and their mentors to understand all of the steps on the journey the easier it will be to keep track of progress and find their way through the system to a better outcome.

This research allowed designers at PDR and the Cardiff Council youth services team to map out young people’s journeys, experiences, and to plot out exactly what each young person would go through after their case was discussed at a neighbourhood panel meeting. This meant reviewing known issues and identifying solutions that make navigating support services in the city simpler for young people. 

Neighbourhood Panels Info & Starter Pack Cardiff Council[1]-9

Neighbourhood Panels partner map

The Impact
A Neighbourhood panel pack has been produced by PDR that explains to new staff what panels are, how to set them up and how to run them. The neighbourhood panel pack includes bespoke service design tools to help organise and structure the service most effectively. These tools are also used to capture feedback from young people and assess the effectiveness of their interventions.

The monthly panel meetings also provide the opportunity for an update on the new services available in each area. These are often charity or third sector organisations charged with helping young people and could be a useful resource to the teams of youth and lead workers. These service providers are invited onto the panels to explain what they can offer and how they can link up with council provided youth services. If the panel members are unsure of the support they can access they can take advice from the Youth Service’s Information Officer who can advise and broker to the most appropriate organisation.

Since launching, Cardiff Council has held over 58 neighbourhood panels across 6 areas of the city. 535 young people have worked with directly through neighbourhood panels and 184 have been offered a bespoke service. By the end of 2015 over 1070 young people will have benefited from this service. 

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