Multi-Agency Child Safeguarding (MACS) Evaluation
This project is led by experienced academics from King’s College London and the University of Bedfordshire, in partnership with The Association of Safeguarding Partners (represented by investigator Alison Thorpe) and Camden Safeguarding Children Partnership Young Advisors (represented by investigator Suraya Miah), and in collaboration with The Association of Child Protection Professionals and Family Rights Group.
Child safeguarding is about keeping children safe from harm so that they can have the best outcomes in life. Safeguarding needs all people working with children to work well together. This can be difficult because there are so many different organisations involved and because family circumstances vary so much.
Through recent reforms, the government has brought together the Local Authority, Health and the Police in Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships (LSCPs) and given them joint responsibility for safeguarding. However, we do not know how well LSCPs are doing, and it is difficult to measure the impact because of differences between local arrangements, and also because the COVID-19 pandemic increased risks for children and young people and led to changed ways of working.
In this project, we will provide evidence about what makes LSCPs effective. We will focus on how well joint working happens and how oversight arrangements may improve outcomes for children in different local circumstances. We will take into account the impact of the pandemic. We will explore effective ways of making sure that LSCPs hear and adapt to the views and experiences of children, young people and families. We will recommend ways to check how well the reforms are working and whether the safeguarding system is improving children’s outcomes over time in local areas and nationally.
The project lasts for two years with three key stages.
In Stage 1, we will send an online survey to LSCPs. From the results we will work out what might explain effective multi-agency working in different areas and suggest some outcomes we could measure to check progress.
In the second stage, we will select local ‘case study’ areas where we will run workshops to test our ideas. We will explore with professionals, parents and carers, and children and young people how different circumstances and arrangements in different local areas influence what works best and how COVID-19 has affected how well the reforms have worked.
In the final stage, we will develop a tool to capture local and national progress on improving outcomes for children and young people in the future. To be successful, the tool must reflect what outcomes are important to children, young people and families as well as professionals and the government, and must be easy to use and interpret. Therefore, we will provide progress reports and invite discussion and feedback throughout the project, using a variety of formats to communicate with different audiences.
Funding Body: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Period: January 2023 - December 2024