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Evaluation of Social Work Practices pilots with children


To evaluate the new Social Work Practices pilots. Improving outcomes for children in care is a consistent theme in the Government's policies and strategies. As part of this agenda, the DfE is piloting possible improvements.


2008 - 2012 

Research team

Jill Manthorpe and Shereen Hussein (SCWRU)
Nicky Stanley (principal investigator), Andy Bilson and Julie Ridley (University of Central Lancashire)
Helen Austerberry, Vicki Strange, David Gough and Anne Ingold (SSRU, Institute of Education)


Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), now Department for Education (DfE)


The evaluation aims to:
1: Analyse advantages/disadvantages of the overall Social Work Practice concept and specific benefits (or otherwise) of the different models employed;
2: Identify the impact of SWP on children, carers and their families;
3: Explore the impact of the SWP on the workforce;
4: Identify the impact on statutory child care social work.
The research utilises a matched control design, with adjustment for baseline differences between sites in outcome analysis.



Social Work Practices: Report of the National Evaluation (Department for Education website)

Young person's summary of this study (pdf, 1.98 MB)


Stanley, N., Larkins, C., Austerberry, H., Farrelly, N., Manthorpe, J. & Ridley, J. (2015) 'Rethinking place and the social work office in the delivery of children's social work services', Health & Social Care in the Community. Open Access

Hussein, S., Manthorpe, J., Ridley, J., Austerberry, H., Ferrelly, N., Larkins, C., Bilson, A. & Stanley, N. (2014) 'Independent children’s social work practice pilots: evaluating practitioners’ job control and burnout', Research on Social Work Practice, 24(2): 224-234.

Ridley, J., Larkins, C., Farrelly, N., Hussein, S., Austerberry, H., Manthorpe, J. & Stanley, N. (2013, online) 'Investing in the relationship: practitioners’ relationships with looked-after children and care leavers in Social Work Practices', Child & Family Social Work.

Larkins, C., Ridley, J., Farrelly, N., Austerberry, H., Bilson, A., Hussein, S., Manthorpe, J. & Stanley, N. (2013, online) 'Children's, young people's and parents' perspectives on contact: findings from the evaluation of Social Work Practices', British Journal of Social Work.  

Stanley, N., Austerberry, H., Bilson, A., Farrelly, N., Hargreaves, K., Hussein, S., Ingold, A., Manthorpe, J., Ridley, J. & Strange, V. (2012, online) 'Establishing social work practices in England: the early evidence', British Journal of Social Work.

Professional press

Stanley, N. & Manthorpe, J. (2012) 'Small mercies', Social Work Matters. The College of Social Work magazine, November: 22-23.


4 December 2012 Social Work Practices – Lessons for practice and organisations (National Council for Voluntary Organisations, London)
Speakers: Prof Nicky Stanley, Prof Jill Manthorpe, Dr Cath Larkins
Information (pdf, 156 KB) And see SCWRU news item about this evaluation.


Emergent findings have informed the second round of pilots, recruited 2010-11.

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