EY helped the UK government to deliver a high-profile programme designed to guide young people away from a life of violent crime.
Against a background of rising knife crime and other forms of violence involving young people, the Home Secretary announced the creation of a £200m, 10-year Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) in October 2018. EY played a crucial role in delivering this programme, which was set up to support early intervention and preventative projects.
The timescales for delivering YEF were extremely ambitious, with a deadline set for 31 March 2019, just six months after the October announcement. The grant’s high-profile nature, fuelled by a spike in national media attention on knife crime, added to the challenge of managing stakeholders that included the Home Secretary and 10 Downing Street. Alongside the need to navigate shifting government and departmental priorities in March 2019 (due to Brexit), these factors all contributed to the complexity of delivering the grant successfully.
The Home Office needed to identify a proficient fund administrator, draw up and accept the grant agreement, produce and approve requisite business cases and manage all government stakeholders to facilitate the £200m public expenditure by 31 March 2019.
We selected a team from across EY’s Advisory and Transactions Advisory Services practices, blending commercial and programme management specialists with central government experience. The team then identified activities that needed specialist insight and drew expertise from their networks to provide small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) input into critical tasks and documentation across the commercial process.
The Youth Endowment Fund was successfully launched by the end of March 2019 and in May 2019 the first round of grants took place, receiving 445 applications from all over the UK. As a result, in October 2019, £16.2m was allocated to 22 projects across England and Wales.
The EY team wholeheartedly embraced the principles of honesty, open feedback and driving continuous improvement throughout the project. They ran lessons-learnt sessions with the client and were also invited to hold a session with the Cabinet to demonstrate project successes, building relationships across Whitehall between departments and sharing knowledge and insights.
The final acknowledgement was received from then Prime Minister Theresa May by letter. In it, she recognised the substantial challenge that was presented to the team at the outset, the ‘significant achievement’ we helped to deliver – ‘one of which we can all be proud’.
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