This page answers some of the commonly asked questions about the Review. If you’ve got a question that isn’t answered here, please email Review.ChildrensSocialCare@education.gov.uk .

What issues is the Review looking at? 

When the Review launched, we published terms of reference, which are available here. Josh also described his early thinking on areas of focus and the big questions here.

In June 2021, we published the Case for Change, which set out in more detail the challenges that the Review is considering. 

Who are the Review team and what do they do?

As the chair of the Review, Josh is supported by a Review secretariat team. Most of the team are civil servants from a range of backgrounds and disciplines, including those with experience of working in children’s social care. Josh is also supported by Duncan Dunlop whose role in the team is to provide advice, support and challenge across the breadth of the team’s work. Duncan is former CEO of Who Cares? Scotland (an advocacy and membership organisation for care experienced people based in Scotland) and a former adviser to the New Zealand care review. Whilst the Review is sponsored by government, the team is operating independently.

The team is supported by an Experts by Experience Board. Josh has also appointed two advisory groups to bring independent scrutiny, challenge and expertise to the Review. You can read more about the Evidence and Design groups here.

What is the Case for Change?

The Case for Change sets out the major problems in the children’s social care and poses big questions. You can read the full document here.

It was developed using the submissions made to the Review by individuals and organisations via the Call for Advice and Call for Evidence, and through the information shared by the hundreds of people that we engaged with.

The Case for Change was not about making recommendations but starting the conversation about possible solutions. We welcomed views and feedback on the questions posed by the Case for Change.

Who did you speak to in developing the Case for Change?  

In the first 3 months of the Review, the team heard from over 700 people with lived experience (including children, care experienced adults, parents and families, kinship carers, foster carers and adopters) and met around 80 charities and organisations representing people with lived experience of children’s social care.

We also received almost 1,000 submissions to our Call for Advice from individuals and organisations and had over 200 submissions to our Call for Evidence from organisations and groups.

Since Case for Change was published, we have continued our engagement and listening work, and have heard from over 1000 people with lived experience of children’s social care as well as over 1000 children’s social care professionals (including social workers, early help practitioners, residential care staff, teachers, health professionals, police officers and those who do voluntary work with children and families).

You can find out more about our engagement activities in the Case for Change Supporting Evidence

Why did you create an Experts by Experience Board?

The Experts by Experience Board will tell us how we should hear the voices of 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.

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.

Who selected candidates to join the Experts by Experience Board?

The Experts by Experience Board was appointed by Josh MacAlister, chair of the Review. Josh asked Shazia Hussain (head of the Review team), Jenny Molloy (care leaver and author) to help 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.

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.

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.

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. What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care are uniquely placed to partner with the Review and convene other what works centres in this space.