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Evaluation of the County Lines Pilot Project

Author: Jo Hudek

The County Lines Demonstration Pilot Project was funded by the Home Office to test out what might enable vulnerable children to move away from involvement in county lines drug distribution networks. It began in September 2017, with the objectives of trialling a range of interventions delivered by St Giles Trust and its partner Missing People, that had the potential to:

  • reduce the number of children involved in county lines activity;
  • improve the lifestyles and life chances of those who exit county lines activity, to reduce their likelihood of becoming re-engaged with gangs and crime;
  • understand how a range of interventions can work effectively together to help children affected by county lines activity;
  • develop a model that effectively tackles the issue of child involvement and exploitation in county lines activity, and
  • facilitate enhanced intelligence and partnership working across agencies involved in crime, social services, safeguarding, health and other key agencies relevant to children involved in county lines activity.

This independent evaluation, carried out by JH Consulting, assesses the extent to which the interventions have contributed to achieving these objectives – for children, families and statutory services; the relative effectiveness of the interventions and any interactions between them, and the key learning points to take forward in service development for this highly vulnerable group.

The evaluation is linked to wider scoping research that draws together key learning from across over 20 different areas in England and Wales, identifying the key issues for vulnerable children involved in county lines, as well as emerging responses in tackling them.