All our practice in Children’s Social Work and Child Protection should be informed by evidence. Whether you are working in front line practice, commissioning a service or providing a learning opportunity; your approach should include the voice of children and families, research evidence and practice expertise. This is evidence informed practice. Watch the short film below from Research in Practice, which highlights the value of working in this way.
Why is Evidence Informed Practice important?
The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) is explicit that social workers at all levels should:
- Have a critical awareness of current issues and new evidence-based practice research
- Demonstrate knowledge and application of appropriate legal and policy frameworks and guidance that inform and mandate social work practice.
- Recognise the contribution, and use, of research to inform practice
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of research methods
The Knowledge and Skills Statements (DfE) for child and family social work, including those for practice leaders and practice supervisors, make continuous reference for practice and provision to be based upon ‘best evidence’. As mentioned above RiP have mapped their resources to the statements.
The Standards for Employers of Social Workers in England require DCC to provide ‘opportunities for continuing professional development, as well as access to research and practice guidance’ to support social workers to work effectively.
In this year’s Ofsted annual report, HMCI said that successful local authorities had ambitious ideas based on sound research:
“In the best local authorities, leaders have developed ambitious and innovative approaches to practice that are firmly grounded in sound research. We have seen examples of how researched ideas can have a transformative effect on children, young people and families when staff are supported to deliver them and leaders critically assess their impact.”
“The best leaders and managers are reflective and promote effective, research-based practice.” (Ofsted annual report, 2016)
The framework for inspection itself highlighted the role of research in practice in descriptors for good and outstanding authorities:
In good authorities: “For children who need help and protection, assessments (including common or early help assessments) are timely, proportionate to risk, and informed by research and by the historical context and significant events for each case.”
In outstanding authorities: “Research-informed practice, some of which will be innovative, continues to develop from a strong and confident base, making an exceptional difference to the lives and experiences of children and young people.”
(Framework and evaluation schedule for the inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers August 2016 No. 130216).
To provide the best service to vulnerable children and families in Devon we must all strive to be evidence informed.
To support you in being evidence informed The Academy encourages you to make use of the following resources:
Current research activity at Devon County Council