Thank you for visiting the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care’s website. 

Following the publication of the Review in May 2022, the Government has today (2 February 2023) published its strategy, Stable Homes, Built on Love and this can be read here. The plan responds to recommendations made by three independent reviews by Josh MacAlister, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel into the tragic murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

This website will be closed down. An archived version will be saved with the National Archives. 


Throughout the different stages of the review, we have sought to ensure that our work is based on the best available evidence. Read about some of the ways we have done this below.

Evidence Group

The review was supported by the Evidence Group whose role was to bring together a range of research perspectives and experts in children’s social care to ensure the review’s approach is evidence informed. You can read more here.

Call for Advice

When the review launched, Josh published a Call for Advice. We had over 900 responses, which helped shape the early work of the review. You can read about early findings of the Call for Advice here and a summary of responses is in the ‘supporting evidence’ annex of the Case for Change.

Call for Evidence

In March 2021, Josh also launched a Call for Evidence to identify the wealth of existing evidence and research to help support the review. This was open between 1st and 30th March and was primarily aimed at researchers and those delivering services which had been evaluated. We received over 200 responses. You can find a summary in the ‘supporting evidence’ annex of the Case for Change.

The review team worked with a number of organisations throughout the review to gather evidence to inform our recommendations.

Read more about these below.

What Works for Children’s Social Care

What Works for Children’s Social Care supported the review by producing and commissioning evidence summaries, rapid reviews and new analysis. These can be reviewed on the supporting evidence page by clicking the button below.

Early Intervention Foundation

We asked the Early Intervention Foundation to bring together the best-evidenced interventions mapped against areas in which children and families might need help. The report is intended to help practitioners and policy makers make evidence-based decisions in designing and delivering Family Help.

Research with children and families who have experienced children’s social care

We worked with Policy Lab to better understand the experiences of children and parents in contact with social care services through undertaking research using ethnographic methods. This ‘Spotlight on Families’ included remote semi-structured interviews and video diaries to provide detailed insights into participants’ experiences to inform the review’s recommendations.

An anonymised summary of Policy Lab’s findings can be found here and case studies telling some of the participants’ stories here 

Local Deep Dives

The team also spent 30 days on the ground across 10 towns and cities learning from those who work in or have lived experience of the children’s social care system.

Commissioned from the Department for Education

Early in the review we commissioned four research reports from the DfE, based on data they hold, and where we felt there were gaps in knowledge across the sector. These four research reports can be reviewed on the supporting evidence page by clicking the button below.

Teenagers’ pathways through children’s social care

We worked with the Department for Education’s (DfE) ‘Data Science Lab’ to carry out an analysis of teenagers’ journeys through children’s social care. This exploratory analysis looked at different types of children’s involvement with the system, and we hope that it will galvanise further longitudinal research into experiences of children in contact with children’s social care. 

Alma Economics

We worked with Alma Economics to estimate the costs associated with the current children’s social care system and the cost effectiveness of the review’s recommendations

The first part of this work focussed on estimating the social costs of adverse outcomes for children who have a social worker (for example in education, health, employment and other areas), and the amount spent on children’s social care and associated public services.

In November 2021, we published ‘Paying the price’ which estimates the annual social cost of adverse outcomes for all children who have ever needed a social worker at £23 billion.

The second stage of the work estimated the potential costs and benefits of our recommendations The evidence from this work has fed into the review’s final report.