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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Completed Projects

The contribution of detached and outreach youth work to the involvement of socially excluded young people in relevant and accessible education, training and employment in England and Wales, with particular reference to the Connexions initiative

A research project of the Department of Sociology.


The research was undertaken by a team from the universities of Durham, Lincoln and Luton between November 2001 and July 2003. The research was commissioned in a period of intense policy and service development and change in relation to young people who are defined as 'socially excluded'. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation wished to influence the direction of these policy changes and commissioned the research to assess the potential contribution of detached and outreach youth work to the Connexions programme then currently being established.


The research sought to:
'Explore the nature, range and geographical spread of street based youth work with socially excluded young people in England and Wales; identify the effectiveness of agency strategies and practice interventions in developing significant and sustainable educational, training and vocational opportunities; and
establish how street-based youth work can best contribute to and articulate with the Connexions Service and the key agencies that constitute Connexions Partnerships.


1. Mapping Exercise (1,547 projects identified)
2. Survey of all projects identified in England and Wales using questionnaire (693 questionnaires returned, of which 564 valid in terms of type of work identified.)
3. Telephone interviews with representative sample of 31 of 564 respondents.
4. Two Participant Observational visits to 11 of the 31 projects selected for telephone interviews
5. Two day research workshop for street based workers from each of 11 projects
6. Telephone follow up to each of the 31 projects selected for telephone interview, eight to ten months after original interview.


Outlined in report, Crimmens, D. Factor, F., Jeffs, T., Pitts, J., Pugh, C. Spence, J. and Turner, P. (2004)'Reaching socially excluded young people: a national study of street-based youth work', Leicester: NYA for the JRF.

Published Results

Journal Article

  • Spence, J. (2004). Targeting, Accountability and Youth Work Practice. Practice: A journal of the British Association of Social Workers
  • Spence, Jean, Pugh, Carole & Turner, Penny (2003). Reconfiguring Youth Work: Some findings from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Detached and Outreach Research Project. Youth and Policy 81: 58-73.


From the Department of Sociology

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