Project Daedalus

Background: What is Project Daedalus?

Daedalus was launched on 29 September 2009 and focussed on placement of young people closer to home (Feltham Young Offenders Institution (YOI).

The enhanced ‘resettlement’ unit (known as the Heron Unit) within Feltham YOI was developed for young offenders ready to make positive changes during their sentences, and each young offender was given a key worker (a resettlement broker), who tailored a programme of structured activities and training to help prepare them for effective release and reintegration into the community. Many of the boys were given day release to attend training and job interviews, with three securing places at University.

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime has worked in partnership with the Youth Justice Board, Ministry of Justice, local boroughs, London Criminal Justice Partnership and Rathbone to deliver the Heron wing resettlement project.

Final evaluation and key findings

The final evaluation was developed by IPSOS Mori and has been independently peer reviewed. The report shows:

  • Considerable savings and a reduced reoffending rate of 53% and as a result there are fewer victims of crime in London.
  • Young people involved felt that staff had a positive impact on their attitudes toward offending and 94% of the young people now in the community said they now found it easier to keep themselves out of trouble.
  • The programme represented excellent value for money and the criminal justice savings attributable to the programme were estimated to be between £580,000 to £1,160,000 in the first year.
  • 56% have entered into education, training and employment and 35% of those were still there six months later (‘sustained’) - this is very positive against a backdrop of record high youth unemployment.

This pioneering project has helped some damaged young people get into a better place, largely thanks to the resettlement brokers and the dedication of the staff at Feltham, and contributed to the growing evidence base that resettlement can work.

Next steps

Lessons gained from the Heron Unit are now informing the youth offending strategy across the entire country.

It is good news that YJB have committed to continue the Heron Unit as an enhanced resettlement unit and reflects positively on the achievements of the programme.  It is the YJB’s intention that this will complement the new GLA/ESF young offender resettlement -programmes, and build on Daedalus.

New resettlement projects

New projects will provide resettlement to London young offenders leaving custody (and will serve the main secure institutions holding young people from London). Similar to the LDA's ESF Youth Programme resettlement projects, one of the unique aspects to this project is ‘end to end’ provision, with work taking place with young offenders both in custody and post-release in the community. This aligns with YJB's commitment to support Feltham Young Offenders Institute in continuation of the Heron unit as a ‘high intensity resettlement support unit’.

There are three projects in total and a provider has been appointed to deliver two of the projects. The delivery partner for two of these projects is Nacro and the project is called “Staying In Touch”. Over £2 million has already been committed and once a third provider is appointed, up to £3.5 million will be being spent on these projects to improve resettlement outcomes for young people across 32 boroughs. More details will follow shortly.

Key documents

Final Evaluation Report (opens in new window)

Emerging Findings Report (opens in new window)

Interim Evaluation Report (opens in new window)

The evaluation has been submitted to Project Oracle, which aims to improve the evidence base around youth crime in London. For more information visit the Project Oracle website (external website).