New research and evaluation through Open Funding Rounds

03 November 2022

Over the last two years our Open Funding Rounds (OFR) have funded a series of innovative programmes and evaluations to find out what works for children’s social care. 

Launched in summer 2020, the OFR aims to identify and fill gaps in the current evidence base through the rigorous evaluation of promising interventions and programmes. Applications were encouraged from all areas, especially those working with children and young people on a daily basis, including sector experts, health and social care professionals and service users. We wanted to support partners to turn great ideas into impactful pieces of evaluation.

Following the original call out, the first projects were selected for OFR1 from more than 50 applicants in October 2020, with a further round of projects receiving funding as part of OFR2 in January 2021. To ensure evaluation was also independent, each funded project was then paired with external independent evaluators with research expertise and experience. 

We’re pleased to announce that from the beginning of November we will be publishing the latest series of OFR reports. Each piece of research looks at a topic at the heart of children’s social work, including initiatives around domestic abuse, support for children who have experienced trauma or transitions and unaccompanied asylum seeking children. 

Open Funding Round 1

  • Prevent-Protect-Repair (PPR) programme – delivered by London Borough of Lewisham, the PPR programme seeks to build the skills, confidence and capacity of children’s social care teams to work with families affected by domestic abuse that are on child protection plans 
  • No Recourse Early Action Model (NOREAM) – NOREAM is a new model of practice based on multi-agency support delivered and developed by Hackney Borough Council in collaboration with the University of Wolverhampton that aims to provide earlier and bespoke support to children and families with No Recourse to Public Funds who currently do not meet the threshold for section 17 of the Children Act 
  • We Can Talk About Domestic Abuse (WCTADA) – With an aim to improve understanding, communication and experience between professionals and people affected by domestic abuse, WCTADA was delivered and developed by Wirral Council
  • Creative Life Story Work (CLSW) – CLSW aims to give children a structured and understandable way of talking about themselves and helps them build a sense of self-worth and to develop a record about themselves they can refer to and carry with them through life.

Open Funding Round 2

  • Thriving Babies: Confident Parents – A programme delivered by Manchester City Council, which aims to  intervene and provide support at an early stage for potentially vulnerable parents of babies and infants pre- and post-birth. 

A few of the awarded projects have had their timelines extended to ensure they were able to reach sufficient numbers of children and young people to take part, so two further projects will be reporting in 2023. In our first two of these funding rounds we’ve learned valuable lessons around clearly defining the programmes to help evaluators carry out their work, as a couple of the originally selected projects were unfortunately unable to go forward due to challenges around recruitment and attrition of participants.  

We’re excited to publish these reports, and hope that the findings will contribute to the evidence and provide another step forward in improving outcomes for children and young people being supported by children’s social care services.