Evaluating regional pilots for improving children's services

Client: LGA | NFER Contact:

The LGA has commissioned the NFER to evaluate three regional pilots, designed to explore the capacity and willingness of local authorities to take a leading role in the improvement of children’s services across authorities in each region. The three government regions participating in the pilots are South West, East Midlands and West Midlands. The pilots will be facilitated by the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) and overseen by a national steering group comprising representatives of the LGA, the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), DCSF and IDeA.

Research questions

The pilots are in the very early stages of development and their exact nature and scale within the three regions are still to be agreed. In order best to determine the most appropriate methodology and timeline for a full evaluation of the pilots, NFER will therefore deliver an initial scoping study which will focus on exploring the developments currently underway in the South West pilot area, with the aims of:

Impact and outcomes

A report summarising key findings from the discussions with the IDeA and other identified stakeholders will be written for the LGA. The report will summarise the findings, highlighting key developments and progress to date. The report will also inform the development of a full proposal to evaluate the three regional pilots.

Research design and methods

NFER researchers will carry out the following:

The semi-structured interviews will focus on the following aspects:


The audience for this interim scoping study will be the LGA, IDeA and NFER itself, who will together examine the findings to understand better the remit and organisation of the regional pilots, informing a full evaluation.

Time scale: July 2008 - December 2008

NFER Project Code: IDA