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Canary in the Cage?

Lead Indicators and their potential use by Local Safeguarding Children Boards and partner agencies

This brief report summarises the views of a number of professionals, involved in managing and overseeing local child protection arrangements, on the value of including a set of ‘lead indicators’ within these local performance management arrangements.

The term ‘lead indicator’ is used here to describe indicators that track the key drivers of organisational and inter-organisational effectiveness. The term describes a class of indicators that give feedback on the evidence-informed processes that are expected to ‘lead to’ improved outcomes for children and young people. Because these indicators are largely concerned with internal processes (‘work in progress’) rather than demonstrating outcome (‘the difference we made’), they are normally better suited to internal rather than external reporting. It must be stressed that the idea of lead indicators does not necessarily mean the introduction of new indicators. Instead, it suggests a different way of developing and reporting many of the indicators that are already in use.