Longer-term Impact of Safeguarding Children Peer Reviews

Kerry Martin, Jennifer Jeffes, Emily Buchanan

24 February 2014

The Local Government Association (LGA) Safeguarding Peer Review Programme was established in 2010. The aim of the programme was to support and challenge councils to reflect on their provision of safeguarding services for children and young people. The LGA commissioned NFER to conduct an evaluation tracking the impact of safeguarding children peer reviews in six councils over a one-year period.

The research team conducted interviews with strategic and frontline council officers, lead members and partners at three discrete time points: prior to; three months after; and one year after their safeguarding children peer review. The three time points allowed exploration around participants’ aims and anticipated outcomes; emerging impacts; and longer term impacts and legacy.

Key Findings

  • The safeguarding children peer review impacts on service planning and delivery in three ways: offering insight into councils’ strengths and weaknesses; supporting the identification of actions to develop services or working practices; and therefore, improving safeguarding practice.
  • Whilst the safeguarding peer review certainly contributed to changes and improved practice, councils were cautious to attribute any impact solely to the programme, recognising other factors such as Ofsted feedback and changes in leadership.
  • The range of staff and key partners involved; the composition of the review team; the flexibility of the review methodology, its focus and depth; staff engagement; the detail of review findings and recommendations; ongoing monitoring; and local context and timing, all influence the impact of the review.
  • Councils viewed safeguarding children peer reviews and inspections as complementary.

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