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About the Evidence Store

We believe that using reliable evidence is critical to helping people make informed, impactful decisions

We aim to make available evidence about children’s social care interventions easier to access and use. To act as a trusted starting point for making evidence-based decisions.

Searching for evidence can be time-consuming. Individual studies might be hard to access. Or, there might simply be lots of studies about one intervention, making it difficult to know where to start.

Our Evidence Store is underpinned by systematic reviews of existing evidence. This means it can provide reliable insights into what works, drawing on whole bodies of evidence.

A useful starting point

It’ll take us time to summarise every published systematic review in Children’s Social Care, so we started by publishing a small number of topics and we’ll add summaries on a regular basis. There will be some gaps in the Store, where reliable evidence doesn’t exist yet for certain interventions. But as the evidence base grows, so will the Store. We hope you’ll find it useful as a starting point for making decisions on commissioning and service delivery.

We wanted to share the Store at this point so that we can get your feedback and continue to develop it in partnership with the Children’s Social Care sector.

How the Evidence Store was designed

We designed the Evidence Store in partnership with two local authorities: West Sussex County Council and Coventry City Council. We also consulted with the What Works Centre’s Practitioner Panel. We wanted to make sure that the design of the Store is accessible and actionable and that it was tested with real users in the children’s social care sector.

Sharing evidence from systematic reviews

We chose to initially base the Store on systematic reviews as they are considered the most robust research method for answering the question ‘what works?’. This is because they look for all published research on a topic and then synthesise the findings, to see whether overall evidence suggests that an intervention or approach is effective, ineffective or (in a minority of cases) harmful.

The texts in the Evidence Store are based on published systematic reviews that were selected, screened and summarised by the What Works Centre’s research partners at Cardiff University. The main information in each text comes from a technical summary of these reviews written by researchers at Cardiff University. Every technical summary is available as an attachment, under ‘further resources’ for you to download.

Applying evidence standards

We want you to be sure of the quality and reliability of the evidence we’re showing. Therefore, we have applied evidence standards to all of the research findings published on the Evidence Store, using a transparent rating system.

Each of the intervention summaries in the Evidence Store aims to give you information relating to the five domains of the EMMIE framework, and also reports the strength of the evidence available to answer these questions.

Read here for more information about how the systematic reviews included on the evidence store were selected, screened and reviewed in line with our evidence standards.

Contact us

If you have questions or comments about the Evidence Store or would like to submit a systematic review for inclusion, please contact us at: wwccsc@nesta.org.uk