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Longer-term impact of safeguarding children peer reviews

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) was commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) to explore the longer-term impact of the safeguarding children peer review programme from 2012 to 2013. The programme was established in 2010, with the aim of supporting and challenging councils in reflecting on current provision of safe services in respect of safeguarding children and young people.

The safeguarding children peer review consists of a multi-disciplinary team from different councils visiting for a period of five days to review safeguarding practice in the authority.

This study builds on the findings of two previous research projects conducted by the NFER on behalf of the LGA, focusing on the safeguarding children peer review process and how this could be refined in councils which had received adequate, good or outstanding ratings of their safeguarding and looked-after children services (Jeffes and Martin, 2013) and subsequently for those councils with a Notice to Improve (Easton et al., 2012).

Findings from these previous studies demonstrate that the safeguarding children peer review approach was sufficiently flexible to result in a range of benefits for councils regardless of their intervention status. However, while most of the councils in both studies were very positive about the safeguarding children peer review, they found it difficult to isolate the impact of the programme. In both cases, the research took place within a fairly short time period following the safeguarding children peer review and this prohibited investigation into the longer-term impact and legacy of the process.

1.1 Aims of the research

This research seeks to explore the longer-term impact of safeguarding children peer reviews for councils.

In particular, the study explores:

  • the aims and rationales of councils prior to their safeguarding children peer review, their expectations of the process and anticipated outcomes
  • initial reflections on the safeguarding children peer review process and perceptions of early impact following the review
  • what has changed locally in the longer term as a result of undergoing a safeguarding children peer review and how it has helped to achieve the overall desired outcomes around improvement
  • lessons and learning which can be shared with the sector and provide recommendations for the LGA in relation to the safeguarding children peer review programme as a whole.