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.
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:
- providing a critical, independent account of the relationship building processes involved in the South West region between the IDeA representatives in and involved with the region, the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (RIEP), regional government offices and Children’s Services Adviser and its perceived impact on the emergent regional architecture and its support to improvement plans for children’s services
- identifying messages from the South West regional experience that may have transference to other regional activities
- identifying possible options for a broader evaluation strategy for the regional pilots and/or regional activities.
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:
- a review of available documentation and policy information from the South West region
- participation in a regional event to collect additional insights into regional activities and associated processes and to extend initial findings from the interviews
- semi-structured interviews conducted by telephone with up to six stakeholders involved in the regional improvement activities.
The semi-structured interviews will focus on the following aspects:
- the focus of, and their role in, the development of the regional pilot (including reasons for involvement, priorities, and what they hope the pilot will achieve)
- perceptions of the role and contribution of the IDeA to the process of improvements to children’s services at regional level
- their views on appropriate evaluation strategies and methods.
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