When I started this review I committed to listen deeply and think boldly about the changes that we need to make to improve the experiences of children and families. This means making sure the review hears from a wide range of voices. The foundation of this is the voice of the children, adults and families and is why my first action as review chair was to establish the review’s Experts by Experience Board. This board is now in full swing and has met three times already and is providing invaluable input into the review, including on our recently published engagement plan.
It is also important that the review gets advice and input to ensure our work is well evidenced and so that we design recommendations that can be successfully implemented. That’s why I am pleased to share that in addition to the Experts by Experience Board, the review will be supported by two advisory groups. These groups will bring together considerable experience from professionals delivering the current children’s social care system, politicians from different political backgrounds and researchers from a range of disciplines. These groups will provide invaluable advice to the review in the months ahead and there is more information about them below.
Making use of evidence
Thank you to all of you who responded to the review’s first call for evidence, we had just under 200 responses covering topics including outcomes for children, practice models, kinship care, fostering, poverty and adoption. The team and I are now reading responses which, alongside the call for advice, will contribute to the case for change I plan to set out early in the summer. To ensure the review is incorporating the most appropriate research, it will be supported by an Evidence Group, made up of academics and other experts in the field. In addition to the Evidence Group the review will be supported by What Works for Children’s Social Care. The What Works Centre will support the review by producing and commissioning evidence summaries, rapid reviews and new analysis. In the summer, I’m keen to engage the wider research community and we will be arranging a series of events to discuss the case for change.
It is also important that in designing our recommendations the review understands the perspectives of those currently delivering the system as well as individuals who are not part of the system but can bring differing perspectives relevant to reforming it. This is why I am also establishing a Design Group, made up of a range of individuals from across local government, policing, the judiciary, health, education and other areas. This group will have a very important role to play in guiding how the review designs its recommendations. In addition to this we will be engaging widely across the children’s social care workforce and leadership to hear their views over the course of the review and will be setting out more details on this soon.
The terms of reference and membership of both groups is published here. Both groups will meet for the first time by the end of April to help shape the review in its early stages. To ensure the perspective of lived experience runs throughout all of the discussions in these groups, two members of the Experts by Experience Board will sit on each group.