Skip to main content

National FGM Centre: an evaluation

Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme Evaluation Report 15

The vision and purpose of the National FGM Centre is to work in partnership with statutory agencies, government departments and grassroots organisations to end new cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among women and girls living in England, within the next 15 years. The National FGM Centre is a partnership between Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association (LGA).

Whilst FGM is known to have acute and multi-faceted harmful effects on the girls and women who undergo it, existing evidence suggests that the number of cases of FGM in England and Wales is growing (Dorkenoo et al.: 2007). The response by frontline services and agencies has previously been inconsistent and inadequate, particularly in areas with low prevalence.

The National FGM Centre was designed to address the needs not only of Local Authorities (LAs) with relatively high numbers of identified FGM cases, but also those with a lower number of identified cases where there may be limited experience of working with those affected by FGM. Its initial focus, in terms of the pilot areas in which it operates, was 6 LAs with relatively low prevalence of FGM: Essex, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Thurrock and Southend.

The National FGM Centre intended to achieve system change in social work to provide professional expertise and good practice in the provision of social work services for girls and women from potentially-affected communities. It also aimed to foster change in attitudes towards and understandings of FGM, including among women and men, girls and boys, of potentially-affected communities.

To realise these goals, the National FGM Centre offered a continuum of intervention that combined work with Children’s Services, other statutory agencies and organisations with community outreach. It provided Senior Social Workers (SSWs), Social Workers (SWs) and Project Workers (PWs) to Children’s Services to directly manage cases of FGM, with either full delegated responsibility or responsibility for selected delegated duties. The Year 1 cost of this service offer was set by the National FGM Centre at £659,478. The National FGM Centre supported the continuing development of professional expertise by providing consultancy support, practice development and training to professionals who may be in contact with FGM cases. The Year 1 cost of consultancy and practice development was set at £145,592. It also provided an online Knowledge Hub, with an interactive forum that professionals working with FGM could use to access relevant national and international data, information, and resources. The Year 1 cost of the Knowledge Hub was set at £148,328. Finally, the National FGM Centre engaged with a variety of stakeholders and potentially-affected communities through conferences, outreach workshops, and local events. This community outreach work budget was set at £207,180 for Year 1.

The National FGM Centre was a pilot project funded through the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme for two years from April 2015-March 2017. This evaluation assessed the effectiveness of the National FGM Centre, a partnership between Barnardo’s and the LGA, in achieving its stated aims during the first year.