Project Summary & Aims
This trial aims to establish the impact of providing a designated social worker to supervise Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) in secondary schools in Greater Manchester. The evaluation comprises a randomised controlled trial, along with an implementation and process evaluation, and analysis of costs.
This programme offers formal supervision sessions for DSLs in the selected secondary schools in the Greater Manchester area from January 2021 – December 2021. DSLs are the members of staff in each school tasked with the lead responsibility for safeguarding and protection of young people, which includes responsibility for referring cases that meet threshold levels of concern to Children’s Social Care (CSC).
The aims of the intervention are to:
- Improve knowledge and understanding of children’s social care processes and issues, resulting in reductions in inappropriate contacts to children’s social care.
- Reduce DSL stress and anxiety, resulting in reduced rates of DSL burnout and turnover
This programme builds on the initial pilot programme delivered to primary schools in Bolton in the school year 2019-20, in recognition of the fact that the DSL role can be stressful. Qualitative evidence indicates that DSLs receiving the programme welcomed the support this offered with some reporting of increased confidence and improvements in mental wellbeing.
The pilot took place in primary schools, whereas this scaled-up RCT will be conducted within secondary school settings.
A two-arm randomised control trial taking place across 10 Local Authorities within Greater Manchester. Participating schools in this programme will be randomised (at Local Authority level) to either receive DSL supervision through this programme or to continue as ‘business as usual’. Approximately 160 schools will be participating in this project across 2021.
Each participating Local Authority will recruit one supervising social worker to work with and supervise the DSL’s based in the intervention arm of schools to support children and families more effectively and improve the appropriateness and quality of contacts to children’s social care. Supervision to DSL’s will be provided in the form of one-to-one sessions, taking place every 4-6 weeks.
Data for the cost evaluation will be collected from the participating local authorities, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and schools.