DD2174 Delivery of HeadStart Plus Pilot Project

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
13 October 2017
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

Team London have partnered with The Challenge since 2014 to fund HeadStart, a programme to help young people volunteer, build employability skills and gain their first interview for paid work. The programme has worked with over 5,000 young people who have provided over 100,000 volunteering hours to local communities and charities across London.  Team London now wish to expand the HeadStart model, piloting a bespoke, geographically and demographically focused programme for disadvantaged young people from Peckham and neighbouring areas who require greater support to be in education or employment.

This decision form asks for approval to spend a total of £75,000 on the HeadStart programme. This is comprised of £50,000 sponsorship from Lendlease and £25,000 from the GLA. £25,000 of the expenditure is subject to future approval via an Assistant Director Decision Form.


That the Executive Director of Communities and Intelligence approves:

1.    The receipt of £50,000 sponsorship from Lendlease to support delivery of a pre-NEET HeadStart pilot.
2.    A £50,000 grant to The Challenge to fund its HeadStart Plus Pilot programme.
3.    Expenditure of a further £25,000 of GLA Budget for a complementary social action and engagement element of the pilot, subject to approval via an Assistant Director Decision Form.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The HeadStart Programme began as a small pilot in 2014 and has grown to support over 5,000 young people to give back over 100,000 hours of volunteering in their local community. Over 3,500 young people have attended employability workshops delivered by HeadStart employer partners. Out of those interviewed 75% were assessed as being job ready and nearly 500 young people have secured jobs.

1.2    MD2124 approved spend of up to £250k for HeadStart for 2017-18, £25,000 of which has been allocated to this HeadStart Plus pilot. A further 50k of income from Lendlease will supplement the GLA contribution, making a total of up to £75,000 spend for the HeadStart Plus Pilot.

1.3    HeadStart is a tried and tested model which equips young people with the skills and experience 
needed for working life.  It achieves this through young people volunteering for 16 hours, attending communication and employability workshops, attending a job interview and for some providing the opportunity to gain paid work, work experience or internship.

1.4    Since 2014 HeadStart has demonstrated its impacts by young people having increased confidence to achieve their goals, increased teamwork, organisational. Leadership and communication skills. Alongside this the workshops delivered by employers has led to young people having a better understanding of the skills employers want and young people are better equipped to articulate their skills and experience. This outcome is evidenced by the employer partners who consistently report that HeadStart young people are on average 75% work ready compared to 25% of their usual recruitment pipeline.

1.5    We are now growing the HeadStart core programme to work with more targeted groups. In this case, to work with disadvantaged young people who are in school but at risk of becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training). Having consulted with the GLA Commercial Team, we wish to enter into a sponsorship agreement with Lendlease, who will sponsor the pilot programme by providing £50,000 to support programme delivery. In addition, the GLA has budgeted a spend of up to £25,000 to support the delivery of the pilot, allowing for more bespoke and intensive support for HeadStart Plus participants.

1.6    We will work with ‘The Forgotten middle’, young people who are not presenting any overt problems and therefore are not visible. This can leave them at risk of becoming NEET and not as equipped for post-16 education or a future career or careers.

1.7    This expanded HeadStart programme will work with a smaller number of young people in each cohort, all of whom require a higher level of support throughout the duration of the programme than the existing HeadStart participants. This more intensive support (and associated higher funding requirement) opens up the programme to a demographic who would otherwise not be able to benefit. 

1.8    HeadStart Plus will engage and ignite passion in young people, providing an opportunity for them to recognise their talents and achievements. The programme will support young people to remain in education and work towards a career path that they want to pursue, helping them to become active citizens

1.9    Southwark is the chosen borough for this project with a particular focus on Peckham, as well as some of the surrounding areas.  Peckham ward is identified as one of the most deprived areas in Southwark, therefore the disadvantaged young people who live or study within this area stand to benefit significantly from this programme.

1.10    Focusing on Peckham and its surrounding areas fits with Lendlease’s corporate social responsibility and community engagement priorities whilst they are leading on the regeneration of the areas close to Peckham.

1.11    Although there is a primary focus on Peckham, we have broadened the reach to young people living beyond the Peckham area as some young people who would benefit from the programme may study but not reside in Peckham.  This flexibility will ensure that the programme meets needs of those young people who benefit from taking part in the programme.


Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1     Objectives

(a)    To work with Lendlease and The Challenge to pilot a higher-level support HeadStart programme targeting the ‘forgotten middle’ who are at risk of becoming NEET.
(b)    To partner with local organisations to ensure we connect and strengthen the local community, whilst raising awareness of Lendlease’s role in improving young people’s employability.
(c)    To prepare young people to make the most of their volunteering and HeadStart experience. 
(d)    To build strong partnerships with community organisations to sustain volunteering and social action amongst young people
(e)    To inspire and prepare young people for a potential role with Lendlease or their chosen HeadStart employer. 
(f)    To prepare young people to excel in a stressful interview situation.
(g)    To reflect on learnings, and prepare for next steps beyond HeadStart.

2.2    Expected Outcomes

(a)    135 young people undergo a one to one assessment to identify needs
(b)    122 receive 5+ hours to support personal skills needs
(c)    122 young people attend an employability workshop with Lendlease
(d)    100 young people complete 16 hours of volunteering 
(e)    60 young people attend an interview at Lendlease for an unpaid work experience placement 
(f)    15-20 young people will secure an unpaid work placement at Lendlease and the remainder will secure paid work with one of the other HeadStart employer partners
(g)    80 Young people will have the opportunity to apply for paid work, work experience or an internship with another HeadStart employer partner
(h)    100+ Young people report improved skills, character and employability
(i)    90+ young people remain in education
(j)    60% of those interviewed are considered job ready
(k)    60% of those interviewed are successful
(l)    85%feel they have a better understanding of what employers are looking for after taking part in the workshops and interviews
(m)    80% of young people show a 10%+ increase in how they rate their skills needed for work: a) Working well with others in a team b) Leading and influencing c) Communicating clearly d) Organising their time.
(n)    85% of young people show a 10+% improvement in level of confidence after taking part in workshops in the following areas:
(o)    the skills employers are looking for
(p)    understand what their main skills are 
(q)    knowing what makes a good application
(r)    knowing what makes a good CV.

2.3    The progress of outcomes will be monitored through The Challenge reporting weekly on outcomes and bi-weekly catch up meetings, this will give the opportunity to flag issues early and resolve them quickly. We will also have monthly partnership meetings with The Challenge, Lendlease and the community partner to review progress and achievements of the project. The targets have been set and agreed by The Challenge, Team London and Lendlease. 

2.4    This pilot is low risk as each party has been involved in shaping the project and setting targets that are realistic. The Challenge has achieved all targets and in some cases exceeded targets with the delivery of HeadStart since 2014.  Team London have a track record of successfully managing and delivering projects and the senior project officer will be closely monitoring the progress of the project and identifying risks and resolving these as they arise. Lendlease are committed to supporting local communities and already have several successful employability initiatives that support young people in their local communities.

Equality comments

3.1    This project aims to work with disadvantaged young people. The programme is accessible to all young people regardless of gender, disability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs etc. Promotion, content and delivery of the project will ensure that it does not stereotype and provides open access to individuals who are interested in joining the project, in particular one which is of interest to them.

3.2     The project will provide flexibility to those who have specific needs such as a disability or special educational needs, by ensuring that the content and delivery is adapted to meet different needs and where required, support equipment will be made available. Physical access to learning will be considered and arrangements will be made where required.

Other considerations

4.1     Key Risks:


Risk Description

Mitigation / Risk Response





Delivery Partner does not meet the agreed outcomes

The risk is low and will be mitigated through close project management and monitoring through monthly meetings and review processes





The sponsor is not satisfied with the delivery and progress

Team London has a strong track record of working with businesses and building strong relationships. We will work closely with the sponsor and meet regularly as a project team to ensure any issues are resolved early on and quickly.





The new pilot model of delivery for HeadStart does not work

There are 3 cohorts of delivery through the year. Team London and The Challenge will be evaluating the project throughout and building the learning into the delivery at various stages so that any risk areas are resolved quickly.





The community partner does not deliver a satisfactory project

Team London will follow the guidance for procuring the charity partner. The Challenge will be the lead delivery partner and ensure good progress is being made. The charity partner will also attend monitoring meetings to update on progress on outcomes. A grant agreement will be issued which will set out clear objectives and outcomes.





4.2     Mayoral Strategies

This programme will work towards fulfilling the priorities set by the Mayor of London: 

•    The programme will increase social action. Headstart Plus will work with a wide demographic of Londoners, encouraging active participation in community and civic life.  It will support young Londoners in volunteering and will help them to take action to improve our city

•    It will also increase social cohesion and community engagement. Headstart Plus will teach young people to foster valuable life skills by becoming active citizens in their local area, and bringing communities together in a way that is now more important than ever

•    It will aid people with the employment, education and training that they need, as well as meeting the business needs of our ever-growing city. Headstart Plus will work to improve the skills system here, ensuring provision more closely matches the needs of businesses in our growth sectors, so that all Londoners can contribute fully and benefit from the opportunities that our world-class economy generates.


Financial comments

5.1     Approval is being sought for the receipt and expenditure of £50k from Lendlease for a bespoke pilot Headstart programme. In addition, there would be a further £25k expenditure, subject to an Assistant Director Decision, on a potential complementary social action and engagement element.   Therefore, total expenditure could be up to £75k, with a net spend for the GLA of £25k, which will be funded from the Team London 2017/18 budget.


Planned delivery approach and next steps




Procurement of contract

October 2017


October 2017

Delivery Start Date

October 2017

Final report start and finish (self)

October 2018

Delivery End Date

August 2018

Project Closure

October 2018


Share this page