This page answers some of the commonly asked questions about the review. We will keep this up to date as the review’s work develops. If you’ve got a question that isn’t answered here please email Review.ChildrensSocialCare@education.gov.uk .
1. What issues will the review look at?
As the review terms of reference set out, the review will look at the whole system of support, safeguarding, protection and care, and the child’s journey into and out of that system, including relevant aspects of preventative services provided as part of early help. This will include children throughout their interaction with children’s social care, from referral, child in need and child protection plans, through to becoming looked after.
More details about Josh’s early thinking on areas of focus and the question the review should try and answer are set out here. This has been shaped by the responses to the Call for Advice and other feedback received so far. The review will continue sharing details about the themes and issues the review will cover as work gets underway.
2. Who is supporting the reviewer?
Josh will be supported by a review secretariat team, which operates independently of government. The majority of the team will be made up of civil servants from a range of backgrounds and disciplines.
The reviewer will also be supported by an Experts by Experience Board, with details available here. We will publish more details about how the group will bring in other expertise on our website as soon as we can.
3. Why did you create an Experts by Experience Board?
The Experts by Experience Board will tell us how we should hear the voice of other care experienced children, young people, adults and families. It will also help the review to test and refine emerging findings and recommendations.
Recruiting this group was purposely the first action of the review so that the group could shape the wider plans of the review to bring in the voices of those with lived experience into the review. This work will also be shaped by the valuable responses to the Call for Advice and other feedback received so far.
4. How did you choose the Experts by Experience Board?
We received 1,011 applications to join the Board, and the panel, chaired by Josh, assessed every application received against the criteria we included in our Expression of Interest document – which you can read here. We started reviewing these as soon as the application window closed on Friday 5th February 2021 – and read the responses applicants provided against the criteria we included in the expression of interest document. All applications were assessed ‘blind’ – which means the panel had no information on the name, location, ethnicity or disability applicants had declared in their application.
Many applicants met the criteria in the expression of interest document, and the panel had to make some very difficult decisions based on which applications gave us a diverse and experienced cohort we could invite to interview. The panel did have access to information about whether applicants had either 1) personal experience in care or with a social worker, to ensure that, overall, we had a balance of those with recent / historic experience of children’s social care, as well as 2) those with familial connections – such as parents, foster carers and kinship carers. We want to involve everyone with an interest in the review and will be setting out plans soon.
5: Who selected candidates to join the Experts by Experience Board?
The Experts by Experience Board was appointed by Josh MacAlister, chair of the independent review. Josh asked Shazia Hussain (head of the review team), Jenny Molloy (care leaver and author) to assist him review all applications that were received, and Duncan Dunlop (former CEO of Who Cares? Scotland and independent panel member) also assisted with conducting interviews.
6. How will the review hear from the voices of people with lived experience of children’s social care?
The voices of people with experience of children’s social care will be at the heart of the review’s work and the Experts by Experience Board will be helping us decide how to do this. We will be setting out plans shortly, which will include how anyone who wants to can get involved in the review.
7. How will the review hear from those who support children?
We will shortly be setting out a structured plan for engagement that will give all those who are part of the social care system the opportunity to input into the review’s work and shape the recommendations. We would like to hear from membership bodies and other forums that can facilitate these conversations (and have had many offers to date) – please get in touch with the review if you can offer to facilitate a conversation.
8. How are the responses for the Call for Advice being considered? When should I submit a response by?
The Call for Advice will remain open for now whilst we are still receiving responses and advice. The views provided so far have already provided extremely valuable input in shaping the work of the review and will continue to do so. We will publish blogs over the course of March and April setting out how we can have taken the responses from the Call for Advice into account.
9. Who should respond to the Call for Evidence?
While the Call for Evidence is open to all, I am particularly seeking input from researchers and those delivering services they have evaluated.
10. How were the evidence and design group recruited?
The groups have been selected by Josh as the review chair to bring together a wide range of perspective and expertise and provide support and challenge to the review process. Unlike the Experts by Experience Board that was openly recruited, members of the Evidence and Design Groups have been directly invited to provide specific expertise that could only be provided from a smaller number of individuals (for example, a family judge or an academic from a specific field of research). So that the Experts by Experience Board retains a broad overview of all review activity, members of the board will sit on both the Evidence and Design Groups.
11. What is the role of What Works for Children’s Social Care in the review?
The What Works Centre is the review’s “what works” partner, they will support the review by producing and commissioning evidence summaries, rapid reviews and new analysis. WWCSC are an independent charity who, as well as reviewing existing and creating new evidence, champion the application of robust standards of evidence in children’s social care research. Their aim is to seek better outcomes for children, young people and families by bringing the best available evidence to practitioners and other decision makers across the children’s social care sector.
12. How did you decide to partner with WWCSC?
As well as broader evidence and research we want the review’s work and recommendations to be informed by evidence of what works. As the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care they are uniquely placed to partner with the review and convene other what works centres in this space.