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Signs of Safety Evaluation – Phase 2


Wave 1 of the English Innovation Programme (EIP), funded by the Department for Education (DfE), supported ten Signs of Safety pilots across England. The Signs of Safety (SoS) pilots were run by the consortium MTM. The evaluation conducted by SCWRU for the SoS pilot programme and its findings are reported in Baginsky, M., Moriarty, J., Manthorpe, J., Beecham, J. and Hickman, B. (2017) Evaluation of Signs of Safety in 10 Pilots. London: Department for Education.

The pilots are now supported by Wave 2 EIP funding and the project is again being evaluated by staff in SCWRU. 


2018 – 2020

Research team

Mary Baginsky, Jessica Harris, Jill Manthorpe (SCWRU), Jenny Beecham (London School of Economics) and Ben Hickman (Myriad Research and King’s College London)


Department for Education


The methodology will allow us to:

1) explore the project’s theory of change across all ten pilots by:

  • developing a map to measure progress against plans and collecting data on progress of MTM’s theory of change using the tool developed for the Wave 1 evaluation
  • conducting face to face interviews with key staff in five of the pilots at T1 (March to May 2018) and T2 (Dec 2019-February 2020), alongside focus groups for managers and practitioners
  • collecting data from all ten pilots on key indicators and costs
  • work with the QA departments in five of the ten pilots to examine the quality of recording and negotiate access to samples of anonymised cases (10 per pilot area).

2) examine any impact of adopting SoS practice framework on key indicators across the ten pilots

3) examine any impact of using MTM’s SoS Framework compared with authorities adopting other frameworks (two SoS sites and two contrast sites)*:

  • on team culture (using Organisational Social Context tool)
  • on assessments and care planning (using tools and comparators from Wave 1)
  • outcomes for families (measured against identified goals, as well as social workers’ and parents’ stated goals)

4) conduct a cost benefit analysis for the ten pilots and comparator groups using nationally available unit cost/expenditure data to estimate any cost savings.

5) identify the costs of implementing and maintaining SoS across the ten pilot areas for 2017/18 and 2018/19.

* As a prelude to this a scoping exercise has been conducted across England of the practice frameworks being used in children’s social care.


Again, this is an important evaluation of an innovation in children’s services and the findings are being shared with policymakers and child welfare stakeholders, as well as internationally with academics and policymakers.

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