DfE publishes findings from Round 2 evaluation of its Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme

The Department for Education has published its second round report on its Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, and IPC has been heavily involved in the evaluation of the scheme.

IPC was one of a number of accredited evaluation teams, and evaluated projects in Calderdale, Cornwall, Hampshire, and North of Tyne.  Working within coordinated and robust evaluation parameters, evaluators were asked to assess project impact (using quasi-experimental designs where possible), processes, and costs, using a theory of change approach to explain how and why outcomes were achieved, and to do this through an evidence-based approach. 

Collectively, the evaluations provided good indicators of the practices and service systems that make for good outcomes across the whole spectrum of needs and risks. Commonalities in the most effective projects – large or small – included: building consistent, trusting relationships with participants; leveraging strengths and resources, and collaborating to support progress towards positive outcomes; and providing multi-faceted support to address multiple needs, so that issues are addressed in a holistic and coherent manner. 

Fundamental to enabling projects though, was the additional funding from the Innovation Programme that enabled them to work towards their goals. For some, this also resulted in making net cost savings. This evidence highlights the importance of adequate funding in achieving good outcomes in children’s services, but also implies advantages in establishing longer term frameworks for budgeting, recognising that greater spending early in the process and show returns in the future. 

The DfE report goes on to make a series of recommendations on funding, evidence-based practice and methodologies in training, multi-disciplinary specialist support within support teams, and involvement of service users in decision-making. It also recommends early stage research and scoping to inform realistic planning whether on change-oriented project or running established services.

Read the DfE programme report here.

Read IPC's evaluation of transforming children's social care services in Hampshire here.

Read IPC's evaluation of the innovative ‘Positive Choices’ programme in Calderdale here.

Read IPC's evaluation of Cornwall's exploration of an Alternative Delivery Model here.

Read IPC's evaluation of North of Tyne Collaborative's aim for greater integration of health, social care and education services here.

For more information about children's social care innovation, contact Katy Burch on kburch@brookes.ac.uk