What works and why: Centre launches new Evidence Store

30 January 2019

The What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care today launches its new store of evidence for social care professionals about how effective different interventions are so that they can make informed decisions in policy making and service design. The store, which is being launched at the #IuseEvidence event in Birmingham on 30 January, looks at how the specific intervention works, in what contexts, and also what is known about how to implement them.

It is launching with 11 summaries on a range of interventions and practice areas, including Foster and kinship care support, Family Drug and Alcohol Courts, Sexual abuse recovery, Prevention of child mental illness, Solution-focused Brief Therapy, Kinship Care, Intensive Family Preservation, and Mellow Parenting programmes. The range of resources available through this new tool will grow as the Centre further develops to covers more and more ground.

The 11 reviews have been conducted by the Centre’s research partner, CASCADE. Each review pulls together all the studies available on each intervention, globally and in the UK. The store then provides ratings for each intervention in relation to the strength of the evidence and the reported effectiveness of the intervention.

To ensure that the store is as helpful to managers and workers as possible, it has been developed in close partnership with the professionals who will be using it. The initial development work was carried out with the Centre’s local authority partners at West Sussex County Council and Coventry City Council. Content was also reviewed throughout the process by our panel of social work practitioners.

Sir Alan Wood, Chair of the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care said: ‘Good evidence of what works in children social care – the ‘What, when and how’ of effective practice is very limited. Ensuring social workers have access to relevant and reliable evidence in a timely fashion is a prime priority for the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care.

‘The Evidence Store is a significant start in analysing and bringing forward the information and evidence social workers can trust and rely on. We are opening the Evidence Store with a first tranche of evidence and very quickly we will be adding to it with new research and reviews, adding to the depth and breadth of knowledge available to the sector.’

Michael Sanders, the Centre’s Executive Director, said: ‘The launch of the evidence store is an important milestone for us, as it allows us to showcase the evidence that’s out there. It also draws stark attention to what more we need to do to serve social workers and make sure they’ve got great quality evidence available to them in an accessible and useful format. We’re really looking forward to hearing from the sector about how we can continue to improve the evidence store – and the evidence base itself, in the years to come.’

Louise Bazalgette who led the development of the Evidence Store said: ‘We hope this evidence store will be really useful to help busy children’s social care professionals design their services. We’re very grateful to everyone from Coventry and West Sussex and our practitioner panel who gave such honest and constructive feedback on how we could ensure it was relevant, clear and easy to use. We’re really looking forward to launching the evidence store and starting a wider conversation about what this evidence means for social workers.’


Notes to editors
The Evidence Store can be accessed here.
The 11 reviews launching the store are:
Child mental illness prevention
Family Drug and Alcohol Courts
Foster and kinship care support
Intensive Family Preservation Programmes
Kinship care
Mellow Parenting
Residential care
Sexual abuse recovery using CBT
Signs of Safety
Solution focused brief therapy
Substance misuse and child maltreatment
Treatment foster care

The ratings employed by the store are based on the EMMIE framework of ‘evidence standards‘ and the Centre consulted research experts and children’s social care professionals on these standards throughout 2018. A detailed explanation of the ratings can be found here.

You can read a blog by the Centre’s Louise Bazalgette who led on the development of the store, for more details.

Media enquiries
Guy Goodwin,
Head of Communications
07583 146982

What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care
The What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care is a new initiative that seeks 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. Our mission is to foster a culture of evidence-informed practice. We will generate evidence where it is found to be lacking, improve its accessibility and relevance to the practice community, and support practice leaders (e.g. principal social workers, heads of service, assistant directors and directors) to create the conditions for more evidence-informed practice in their organisations.

Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)
CASCADE is concerned with all aspects of community-based responses to social need in children and families, including family support services, children in need services, child protection, looked-after children and adoption. It is the only centre of its kind in Wales and has strong links with policy and practice.

On 30 January, the Centre is hosting the #IuseEvidence event in Birmingham with over 100 children’s social care practitioners coming together to discuss establishing a movement for progressing and promoting evidence-based practice within the children’s social care community.