leadership of local authorities, in that it allowed them to try SafeFamilies to see whether it worked, without having to pay until the innovation was shown to work. If it did work, it would clearly be cost-beneficial to the local authority. The level below senior leadership were less enthusiastic, and many commissioning staff responsible for agreeing the individual PSP contracts viewed it with suspicion, particularly since it bypassed many of the ordinary checks and balances that makes a public system work efficiently and fairly. This meant that senior staff in SafeFamilies had to do much more work than they had anticipated, trying to convince commissioners to adopt the PSP model, some of whom only signed up several months into the free period. We cannot tell whether the use of conventional contractual arrangements would have been easier or quicker.
the mean percentage of children who were re-referred to social services per month increased, and the mean percentage of children returning home after a period of being looked after per month decreased. However, causality should not be inferred. Contextual data includes a larger group of children and young people than the one accessing SHARE, and other factors than SHARE might be influencing changes and/or fluctuations in numbers in contextual data. This is why future evaluations of SHARE, with a longer time-frame and a bigger cohort of young people, would be needed to observe changes in LAC rates associated with SHARE at local authority level.
anticipated that prospective parents would be retained through the process, thereby mitigating significantly the very high drop-out rate identified nationally at the time of Programme development in 2014-2015. Having a larger pool of parents who felt more confident, both in themselves and of the process, and supported on their way, would improve the chance that children waiting for an adoptive home would be placed more readily. This would especially be the case where parental uncertainty about child needs, as described, might previously have pre- prevented the opportunity of a match. The intention was for the Programme to recruit and support 20 mentors, to be available to prospective adoptive parents across the 10 Partner local authorities. This would include the 175 parents expected to be recruited by Cornerstone as part of the Programme model (see below).
An issue that was viewed by several DANs to be a significant barrier to the achievement of the project’s objective of reducing rates of DVA concerned how cases have been referred to Growing Futures. Initially, Growing Futures worked with families that had not gone through any formal referral process and were not necessarily at high levels of risk. In the later stages of the project, however, DANs have exclusively received referrals of high risk families from MARAC and children’s social services. Many of the families who would no longer meet the current referral criteria because, for example, they have been identified as at a standard level of risk through a DASH risk assessment, nonetheless continued to receive services from Growing Futures. Whilst professionals did not all advocate the introduction of self-referral, many expressed concern that referral pathways were not open to more professionals, including health visitors and school nursing teams. Having only 2 referral routes – MARAC and children’s social services - was considered unhelpfully restrictive by some respondents, given that many cases would therefore be missed.
Trust structure - The introduction of a locality model, and changes to the structure of Early Help led by DMBC, were seen by Trust staff and partners to have changed the organisational landscape of children’s social care services for the better. The locality model means Heads of Services for each area are now located with their team, leading to greater senior management visibility and involvement in case decisions (resulting in examples reported by staff and managers in interviews of better case handling and quicker decision-making on cases). Improved team working was reported by staff as resulting from the Intensive Family Support service, Assessment and Child Protection service and Children in Care service teams being located in the same building across locations, and therefore being more able to share information about cases. Since the implementation of the Early Help Partnership Strategy, a range of improvements have been identified through qualitative interviews and indicator analysis: increasingly clearer referral thresholds, examples of more appropriate referrals into social care, and stronger management structure and oversight. However, the Early Help Strategy Group have identified that further work is needed to consolidate the changes to Early Help and
Sickness in 2015 at the unit cost the council over £100,000, and it is now at one third of that – a saving of over £70,000. The Acting Unit Manager attributes this to staff feeling happier at work, through a more inclusive approach, where staff take ownership. This is evidenced by the fact that many of the documents used are now developed with the input, or solely by, the Care Officers. Reports sent to Ofsted are developed holistically, with a live document added to by all staff, which no one can alter. Their Annual Leave procedure, which previously made it mathematically impossible for everyone to have their Annual Leave approved, has been re-developed by the Care Officers, as has the Team Plan, which maps what the service wants to accomplish over the year and incorporates everyone’s ideas. Care Officers are also more involved in shaping the care of the children that they work with and know best, and there is a more flexible approach taken to the swapping and covering of shifts: one of the Care Officers explained that staff now feel that it is worth putting more in because there is more give and take, and more compromise.
‘I try to get parents to mentalise the children at all times. So it’s constantly using their own words and being in their space and then for them to sort of mentalise the social worker as well. So from my perspective, how does that look, you know? Constantly having those conversations and that brings up… that brings up un- comfort for parents and it’s about working with that un-comfort.’ (Social Worker) Access to psychological expertise and explanation through the enhanced offer (itself developed out of the well-indicated team around the worker model (Bevington et al. 2013) was celebrated universally, as being a means of theorising parent (and child) states of mind. This was seen as being enhancing of therapeutic understanding as well as supportive of effective intervention planning: ‘What the psychologist very eloquently, very nicely said, don’t be afraid to challenge, and you're going to have to say, after 5 minutes, you’ve talked enough now, and I need to talk. And I must admit, I - I'm speaking personally here - I didn’t know I can do that. But maybe in the MSW setup, if we'd have had access to the psychologist much earlier on, in the referral stage…’ (Team Manager). It is important to note here that practitioners were expressing fears, not simply that the integrity of the statutory role was compromised by MSW methodology, but also that their capacity to elicit change through the use of MI theory in practice, once that role was confirmed, still fell short. Without this understanding of how to engage parents and children, where changed thinking and behaviour were not so readily accessible, the risk was that social workers would conclude that MI theory was ineffective in practice. Moving through and beyond uncertainty and anxiety
conditions in authorities across England coping with recruitment and retention of social workers, high levels of referrals, constraints on budgets and organisational change . There was, however, optimism that retaining a commitment to SoS as their practice framework would, in the long term, help to address these challenges and strengthen the service they provided to children and families. It is not surprising that, given the reasons why many parents in this study were in contact with social workers, there would be tensions and there might have been unresolved and negative feelings towards some individuals and services. Despite this, many parents were satisfied with the contact with social workers and believed their lives had improved as a result. It was not possible to link this directly with SoS, but there were indications that SoS had made a contribution. It was evident that SoS provided fresh opportunities for social workers to involve families to a much greater extent than had been the case previously. This was being achieved by increasing emphasis on communicating with them and, in so doing, opening up the possibility of raising families’ awareness of their responsibilities for the safety of their children. In the long term, it was hoped this would contribute to fewer pressures on social workers and impact on the authorities’ ability to recruit and retain skilled social workers which, in turn, would benefit families.
The small neighbourhood focus of the Children's Community in Pembury supports close engagement with the community and there is a sense that lead agencies know their communities very well. Pembury is a vibrant and active community, and the Children's Community benefits from the involvement of an engaged residents steering group. This is very positive. At this point the evaluation has not gathered the views of these stakeholders in relation to their impact and influence on the Children's Community, although documentary evidence and minutes of meetings confirms their influence on shaping interventions. Those stakeholders who were interviewed were aware that the Children's Community needs to continue to be proactive in its approach to community engagement and to look beyond the 'usual suspects' to ensure continued co-production with a wide range of community representatives. Many of the early interventions have developed case worker approaches and one to one support to families and young people. These approaches, which focus on developing integrated and holistic services are integral to the work of the Children's Community in Pembury and are beginning to be embedded across a range of service areas. A recent example includes the Ready for School project which is working across early years, primary school and family support. There are also interventions supporting parents and young people. There is a developing portfolio of services for children and families in the area, and some emerging evidence of positive outcomes for beneficiaries. A challenge for the Children's Community going forward is to gather evidence around successful approaches and to build a consolidated pipeline of support across all stages of children's lives. A strategic stakeholder explained:
A second aim of the intervention was to narrow the attainment gap in literacy between pupils from economically advantaged and less advantaged backgrounds. Measuring this is complex because families tend to move in and out of poverty and because there is no single reliable measure of poverty. We therefore analysed attainment using three measures: Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) which captures the level of multiple deprivation present in the area where a child lives; eligibility for Free School Meals (only for children in P4-P7 since all P3 children are entitled to Free School Meals), and eligibility for a School Clothing Grant (for children in P3 to P7). These latter two measures capture families whose income is sufficiently low to attract benefits. None of the measures is perfect: the SIMD often misses poor families who live in private rental accommodation within less deprived areas, for example, and eligibility for Free School Meals and Clothing Grants misses poor families who do not access the benefits to which they are entitled.
• data at local authority level was not obtained. However, if obtained in the future it is important to highlight that causality should not be inferred. This is not only because Compass is currently reaching a small percentage of children and young people who could benefit from such a programme, but also because factors other than Compass are likely to be influencing changes and/or fluctuations in numbers in contextual data • sample size of outcome data: for example, even though 27 young people, 58 parents and 75 teachers completed the SDQ at T1, paired SDQs were significantly lower, with 8 paired SDQs completed by young people, 7 completed by parents and 18 by teachers. Hence, results presented were mostly descriptive and our confidence in the findings is very likely to change when a bigger sample is obtained. Furthermore, a longer follow-up of those who access the Compass service is necessary to examine the long-term effects of the service
The Deep Dive training devoted considerable time to team dynamics and culture. It helped to develop staff relationships and resilience in teams in ways that allowed that kind of high support and high challenge to be provided. The approach was also intended to address the effects of the proceduralisation of practice (with emphasis on timescales and bureaucracy) that is a national concern, to create conditions where families are supported through an approach characterised by encouragement, warmth and belief. Social workers in the two case study teams particularly valued how the training gave them space to think and reflect. They described how it had helped them to clarify their default position in the Social Discipline Window (see chapter 1); it helped them break traditional patterns of ‘doing to’ or for families and moving to the ‘working with’ box as much as possible.
Around three-quarters (74%) of Families First staff agreed that children’s services kept them well informed about changes affecting their work. This was significantly lower than in 2015 when 85% of staff in equivalent teams agreed that children’s services kept them well informed. At an overall level, the majority of staff (67%) agreed that children’s services kept them well informed about changes affecting their work. However, the proportion of staff agreeing to both statements has not increased since 2015, suggesting that more could be done to improve communications and understanding of the reforms. Broadly speaking, there remained a small group of staff, predominantly within OPS, who had uncertainties about the implications of the changes for their role. In the staff survey there was a clear divergence between teams, with only 11% of staff surveyed within Families First teams stating that they were uncertain about their role in the changes. This was an improvement from 2015 when 21% of staff in equivalent teams were unsure about their role. Given that changes in Families First are part of a wider, interconnected system, it is important to consider how other teams felt about their roles in the change. Staff in OPS were significantly more likely than Families First staff to be uncertain about their role in the change (45% compared to 11% of Families First staff). The overall figure has not fallen from 2015, when 28% of staff surveyed were unsure about their role in the change. This reflected qualitative findings that staff within teams who most had recently gone live were less confident in their understanding of the new roles and structures. However, qualitative interviews also showed how staff nonetheless appreciated that communication from managers and within team meetings had become more effective in laying out the theory behind the new model since the programme began. The evaluation also saw that staff became more aware of, and comfortable with, roles and remits
through the integration of a Residential Service (such as HOPE House) for young people facing mental health crisis out of hours. HOPE Day service works at a preventative level with children and young people in the early stages of emotional and mental health difficulties, and is a joint partnership between health, children’s services and education. The service is for 11 to 18 year olds and it is open Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:00. The primary outcome of Extended HOPE was that young people’s out-of-hours mental health needs were met by appropriate services. The Assessment and Support Service was established on October 2015, and by April 2016 was operating 7 days a week (between 17:00 and 23:00). This service is mostly over the phone and consists of advice and referral assessments to help young people in mental health crisis and/or their families and carers outside of normal office opening hours. The Assessment and Support Service also undertakes mental health and risk assessments of young people out of hours, and supports young people using the respite beds. The Assessment and Support Service was reached by 121 young people facing mental health crisis out of hours, or their parents (in 749 face-to-face or telephone contacts) between October 2015 and July 2016.
By the end of July 2015, all posts were filled and 32 of the 35 operational staff had completed their induction and training. The project attracted motivated, well qualified staff: many support workers had relevant first degrees and professional qualifications and a number of people moved to London to take up post. The staff group was mostly women and ethnically very diverse. Staff varied in terms of prior experience of residential work and knowledge of CSE. Because of the tight timetable, managers were either appointed after their staff team or were not able to be fully involved in recruitment. There was consensus that this was unfortunate. The jobs market in London has meant that staff recruitment, and in particular the recruitment of managers, has been a persistent challenge for the project.
focussing on two or three key individuals, involving other family members more selectively. This was based on the worker’s assessment of need and active intervention was not always deemed necessary for all family members at the same time, although Troubled Families workers were still mindful to keep a whole-family oversight. More selective engagement with family members was also guided by practical time and resource considerations, and Troubled Families workers were mindful of the need to apportion precious contact time across their caseload of families to achieve the maximum benefit. The contact time with families afforded by the Troubled Families Programme was often an enabling factor for whole family working. There were clear diagnostic benefits from being able to observe families at different times of the day. Troubled Families workers were regularly “…getting to see them [families] in their actual day-to-day life… earlier, later in the day and at weekends”. This meant that workers could engage with multiple family members around their availability, and observe interactions that might otherwise have been missed. This could be important where one or more of the family members was working, for example. It also sometimes provided an opportunity to spend time with individuals away from the family home and in a more informal setting. This could
As discussed in Chapter 1, the Government funds 15 hours of early education and childcare per week for two-year-olds in the 20% most disadvantaged families (from September 2013 onwards), and from September 2014 the provision was extended to include two-year-olds in moderately disadvantaged families (20%-40%). Most types of formal childcare can provide funded hours, including childminders, nursery schools and classes (including SEN provision), day and maintained nurseries and pre-schools. For each type of childcare respondents mentioned having used since their child turned two, they were asked whether this childcare was funded by the Government (fully or partially). Take-up of the two-year-old entitlement was highest among the most disadvantaged families. Almost half (48%) of the most disadvantaged families had used the funded childcare, while 11% of moderately disadvantaged families had done so (Table 3.2). The low take-up of funded hours among moderately disadvantaged families reflects the fact that funded provision was extended to this group a year later than to the most
identification and the start of implementation, a time-scale viewed as the norm for some multilateral and bilateral donors. Tacis was to be given the ability to mobilise support quickly. In practice, this advantage was largely lost after 1992 because of the lengthy Indicative and Action Programme approval procedures and the backlog in annual programming with which Commission staff implementing Tacis have struggled for years. Most TOR are outdated even before the tenderers make their bids and strategy proposals. Nonetheless, contracts are signed, confirming the technical proposal of the consultant. As a result of this, when the contractor and the project partner finally meet, it is not uncommon to discover that their approaches to project strategy differ considerably. Reports on the inception phase of projects prepared by the monitoring teams have shown that this is a serious problem. Some Task Managers have taken notice of the problem and have taken appropriate action. However, a systematic improvement has not been observed. The evaluators note from the monitoring reports, workshops and interviews that there is wide agreement that Project partners are not sufficiently involved in the formulation of the TOR and have very little rights vis-à-vis the contractor in the management of the project. As in other grant funded TA programmes, the POs are not informed about the financial details of the budget. In addition, in many cases, they have had little insight into the use of budget resources and on balances remaining in respect of physical inputs from the contractor, equipment and training. Formally their rights are limited to endorsement of the Inception Report. These practices limit the “ownership” of the project by the partner organisations, their commitment to the project and their contribution to the project objectives. In this connection, the Evaluation Team notes that there is a weakness in the relations between the three main project parties. A statement of endorsement links the PO with the TM. A contract regulates the relations between the TM and the contractor. However, there is no formal agreement between contractors and POs on project implementation. In some projects, the POs or contractors have insisted on such a “Joint Project Management” between themselves and this is on record as having had a positive influence on the transparency of co-operation within the project.
Other proposes a typology of modality that reflects the different layers of the clause structure in the functional grammar tradition. That is, modal elements can be seen as modifiers (also called operators) at different layers of the clause (predication, event or proposition). Two classifying parameters: the target of evaluation and the domain of evaluation. The target of evaluation is crucially the part that represents these different layers of modification in the clause. It is thus constituted of three different parts: