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Social Care Innovations in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight: Evaluation Report

Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme Evaluation Report 23

The Innovation Programme in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has included a number of strands as follows:

• highly skilled administrators or ‘PAs’ aiming to support social work teams to release their time for more direct work with families
• Family Intervention Teams including specialist domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health practitioners aiming to improve the quality of direct work with families with a statutory (Child in Need or Child Protection) Plan
• a network of volunteers including family support workers, youth mentors and others aiming to provide significant added value to statutory work with vulnerable children and families
• a new offer for young people on the edge of care and their families including a blend of key worker, structured activities programme, and volunteer mentor support
• a new multi-agency service to identify, protect and reach out to victims or potential victims of child sexual exploitation (the Willow Team)
• Social Work Surgeries to support early help services where there is an element of risk or uncertainty about risk to children

The overall objective of the Programme was to create the right conditions and capacity for professionals to work as effectively as possible with vulnerable children and families in order to safely reduce demand for remedial or repeat interventions.

With some lead-in for recruitment and preparation, the start-up operational time frame to be evaluated for most but not all strands was from October 2015 to August 2016.

This evaluation from the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University has sought to understand the extent to which each of the programme strands is beginning to work well, for whom, in what circumstances, and why (Pawson and Tilley 1997). Where strands have showed promise, evaluators have also been tasked with identifying the extent to which they are cost effective. A mixed method approach to evaluation has been applied, including rapid research reviews; case file analysis; interviews with families; longitudinal interviews with team managers, social workers and administrators; broader stakeholder interviews and questionnaires; secondary analysis of performance and cost data collected by the host authorities relating to the programme strands. A fuller outline of the methodology used can be found on pages 17-18 of this report.