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Research project to evaluate effectiveness of multi-agency child safeguarding reforms

New research begins to assess the effectiveness of multi-agency safeguarding reforms and whether they reflect the needs of children, young people and their families.

16/03/23

Research project to evaluate effectiveness of multi-agency child safeguarding reforms

A two-year study has been given nearly £500,000 funding to look at the effectiveness of Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships (LSCPs).

LSCPs were introduced by the Children & Social Work Act 2017 to replace Local Children’s Safeguarding Boards. These new arrangements established joint accountability for oversight and governance of child safeguarding arrangements between local authorities, health services and the police.

The evaluation runs from January 2023 to December 2024 and will culminate in creation of a framework of outcome measures for ongoing evaluation and measurement of the impact of the reforms. In the context of current financial pressures facing both service providers and communities, the research will address how the work of LSCPs is funded and whether investment in LSCPs appears to be a cost-effective use of resources, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on multi-agency safeguarding and how the work of LSCPs has addressed that impact.

The research has received funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and is to be led by academics at King’s College London and the University of Bedfordshire’s Safer Young Lives Research Centre (SYLRC). The project will also work in partnership with The Association of Safeguarding Partners (TASP) and Camden Safeguarding Children Partnership Young Advisors and in collaboration with The Association of Child Protection Professionals and Family Rights Group.

Principal Investigator Dr Jenny Driscoll, of the School of Education, Communication & Society at King’s College London, said the research provides a “unique opportunity to address the longstanding challenges of multi-agency collaboration” and that the findings could be used to “establish a set of outcome measures which reflect what is important to children, young people and families as well as professionals and the government, while being easy for agencies to use and interpret.”

“Placing children and young people at the heart of evaluating provision is essential. This work will engage with a range of different Safeguarding Children partnerships to provide holistic multi agency insights into what works, for whom and in what circumstances,” Professor Jenny Pearce, OBE, Professor of Young People and Public Policy at Bedfordshire’s SYLRC said.

Alison Thorpe, Co-Investigator from The Association of Safeguarding Partners (TASP), added: “TASP welcomes this important investment in finding out how reform has impacted the effectiveness of partnership arrangements and working. The Wood reforms represented a significant shift in partnership working and accountability for how partners meet their statutory responsibility to work together, and this research project represents an important opportunity to establish the level of confidence children, families and communities can have in multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. With strong engagement from all stakeholders, we can aim to ensure that the outcomes framework meets the needs of all groups.”

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