Pioneering new approaches to generating and sharing evidence in children’s social care

04 May 2018

The What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care is seeking local authority led applications to help pioneer the development of evidence-informed practice.
What image does the word ‘pioneer’ conjure up? People with ice axes scaling far-off mountain ranges maybe? Someone developing new ways to use evidence in children and families social care? Less so!

But actually, in children’s social care – a sector which faces huge challenges, not least the lack of time people have to keep up to date with the latest evidence – you could definitely be called a pioneer if you were able to successfully build a sustainable, evidence-informed culture within your local authority. It’s that tough a task.

That is why the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care is seeking a small number of ‘Pioneer’ Partners to work closely with us to co-develop and test a range of promising approaches to generating and sharing evidence. We want to push the boundaries so that we are able to produce much more useful evidence and help local authorities become adept at applying evidence.

Why is this approach necessary? We know that we will have little impact if we concentrate primarily on producing evidence and publishing it on a website, without working with those who will actually use the evidence to shape what is needed, and in what form it should come. And we must work with stakeholders to help them to foster a culture which supports evidence use.

As the Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi said earlier this year:

The What Works Centre will only reach [its] potential … if it is delivering what you as leaders and practitioners in children’s social care need, in a way that is accessible and practical. And to do that they need to hear from you and to work with you.

The What Works Centre’s mission cannot be achieved in a vacuum. Rather, it will be achieved by offering the right balance of support and challenge to do things differently. We are not about doing things for or to the sector – but working with our local authority partners from the outset.

Now is your chance to become a Pioneer. We encourage all local authorities to apply – and there will be a second opportunity to become a Partner later in the year. And while the applications need to be led by local authorities, we encourage collaborative bids with other children’s care organisations.
We look forward to hearing from you.