Making a difference for children in Scotland and Wales
Submitting InstitutionOpen University
Unit of AssessmentSocial Work and Social Policy
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Medical and Health Sciences: Public Health and Health Services
Studies In Human Society: Policy and Administration, Social Work
Summary of the impact
1. Between 2006-10 Open University (OU) researchers Aldgate and Rose
worked with the Scottish government to develop a rights and research-based
national framework, Getting it Right for Every Child. Significant
parts of this framework have now been included in the Children and
Young People Bill (2013), to become law in 2014. Aldgate's research
into kinship care led to the introduction, in 2010, of allowances for
children who are looked after within the kinship care system.
2. Rose also worked with the Welsh government to develop and implement a
national framework for learning and reviewing child protection policy and
practice. Statutory regulations were laid and statutory guidance was
issued for their implementation from 1 January 2013.
These developments have attracted international interest.
Contributors: Jane Aldgate (Professor of Social Work, The Open
University, 1999-2010); Wendy Rose (Senior Research Fellow, The Open
University, 1999-2010); Miranda McIntosh (Research Fellow, Social Work
Inspection Agency, 2005-06); Julie Barnes (Independent Research and
Development Consultant, until 2008)
- The work in Scotland built upon research previously carried out by
Rose and Aldgate, in England, on the Framework for Assessing
Children in Need and their Families. This featured a new,
multi-disciplinary and ecological approach to child development (Aldgate
2005). This was incorporated into the theory and practice base of the Getting
it Right for Every Child model, alongside a strong commitment to
the rights based approach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child, as explored by Aldgate (Scottish Government, 2013).
- Aldgate also undertook empirical studies as part of a review of the
government's services for looked-after children. The first was a
qualitative study of twenty four children, exploring their perspectives
on their well-being. It was the first such study in Scotland (Aldgate
and McIntosh, 2006a).
- The second was a mixed methods study of children who have been
formally looked after in kinship care. This was the first government
study on kinship care in Scotland and provided the first national survey
on policy and practice amongst the country's local authorities. The
study looked both at children's experiences within kinship care and the
issues that affected kinship carers (Aldgate and McIntosh, 2006b).
- Both of these studies extended empirical approaches to involving
children in research. They also provided evidence on children's
perspectives about their well-being, in order to strengthen the case for
a child-centred approach, which became a core principle and component of
the national practice model of Getting It Right for Every Child.
In Wales, two key pieces of research underpinned Rose's work. The first
was an empirical study by Rose and Barnes (2008), involving mixed methods,
of the existing system in England and Wales for reviewing child deaths.
The findings suggested there were issues to be addressed about the
consistency, effectiveness and impact of the reviews, and so posed
questions about the system's fitness for purpose. A second study (Rose,
2009), explicitly focused on Wales, was commissioned by the Welsh Assembly
and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW). This examined
documentary evidence of reviews in Wales, comparing them with developments
elsewhere in the UK, and involved in-depth interviews with key
stakeholders. The findings suggested a high level of consensus about the
difficulties being experienced in process and practice and the need for
reform. Recommendations were made in the report for a way forward in
Wales, which were put to the Deputy Minister for Social Services (Gwenda
Thomas) for consideration and were subsequently approved.
References to the research
Aldgate (2005) `Children, development and ecology' in Aldgate, J., Jones,
D., Rose, W. and Jeffery, C (eds) The Developing World of the Child,
London, Jessica Kingsley.
Aldgate, J. and McIntosh, M. (2006a) Time Well Spent: A Study
of Children's Well-being and Daily Activities, Edinburgh, Social
Work Inspection Agency.
Aldgate, J. and McIntosh, M. (2006b) Looking After the Family: A
Study of Kinship Care in Scotland, Edinburgh, Social Work Inspection
Rose, W. (2009) Improving Practice to Protect Children in Wales: An
Examination of the Role of Serious Case Reviews, Cardiff, Care and
Social Services Inspectorate Wales.
Scottish Government (2013) UNCRC: The Foundation of Getting it Right
for every Child, Edinburgh, Scottish Government. (Aldgate named as
Details of the impact
Aldgate and Rose were seconded from the OU and played a major role from
2006-10 in helping the Scottish government to develop and implement the
new rights-based, multi-agency framework for all family and children's
services, Getting It Right for Every Child (Scottish Government
2013). This has been described by the Minister for Children and Early
Years, Adam Ingram, as `the golden thread that knits together all our
services' (Scottish Government, 2010).
Aldgate and Rose assisted in developing the framework in a Pathfinder in
the Highlands region, writing the guide to implementation. The framework
and national practice model developed and refined by the Pathfinder were
implemented across Scotland from 2008, culminating in national
legislation, as part of the Children and Young People Bill. This is
designed to consolidate Getting It Right for Every Child within
legislation and will become law in 2014.
As part of national implementation, Aldgate and Rose led on writing the Guide
to Getting It Right for Every Child (Scottish Government, 2008),
which set out the core components, values and the national practice model
itself. The model was explained further in eight practice briefings
developed by Aldgate and Rose. Its application to risk assessment within
child protection practice was then set out in a paper (Aldgate and Rose,
2008) which informed the National Child Protection Guidance. The early
implementation of the framework and practice in the Highlands was
evaluated by Stradling, MacNeil and Berry from Edinburgh University
(Scottish Government, 2009), who acknowledged the contribution of Aldgate
and Rose to its success.
Since then, interest has also been shown by other countries in this
radical whole system approach, as well as its underpinning practice model
and tools. In Padua, Italy, the Ministerio del Lavaro e delle Politche
Sociali has used the framework in a practice guide (Guida Operativa)
for child welfare workers.
Aldgate's research on kinship care led to kinship care being recognised
in its own right by the Scottish Government. The National Fostering
and Kinship Care Strategy, published in 2006, took up the study's
recommendation that government support be central to its development. The
ensuing implementation paper confirmed the commitment of the Scottish
Government to meet the needs of kinship carers, as recommended. The
study's recommendations for kinship carer allowances were implemented in
Section 110 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007, which
created powers to make provision for such payments. This has been taken
forward in Part VIII, regulation 33, of the Looked After Children
(Scotland) Regulations 2009 (see Guidance on Looked After Children
(Scotland) Regulations 2009 and The Adoption and Children (Scotland)
Act 2007) (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/06/01094202/0).
Regarding the work in Wales, the report based on Rose's study into the
role of serious case reviews in the Welsh context argued for a radical
overhaul of the system. It has had significant influence on the
development of a national policy and practice framework. In her statement
to the Welsh National Assembly on 20 October 2009, the Deputy Minister for
Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, welcomed the report and called for
specific proposals on how to implement its ideas. In January 2010, Rose
was commissioned to develop detailed proposals and guidance building on
the study's findings. A whole systems approach to learning in child
protection was applied to the model design, underpinned by an agreed set
of principles, drawing from evidence of systems of review in different
disciplines, adult learning theory, and building on existing good practice
and resources available in Wales. The emphasis was on creating a culture
of multi-agency learning. The development process, led by Rose, was highly
collaborative, with the active engagement of policy officials and
professionals from different disciplines across Wales. Following a process
of feedback and model refinement, new statutory regulations were laid and
statutory guidance issued in December 2012 for national implementation
from 1 January 2013 (CSSIW, 2012).
Sources to corroborate the impact
Aldgate, J and Rose, W (2008) Assessing and managing risk in Getting
it Right for every Child, Edinburgh, Scottish Government, available
CSSIW (2012) Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales Annual
Report 2011-2012, Cardiff, CSSIW.
MinesterIo del Lavaro e delle Politche Sociali and Università degli Studi
di Padova (2011) Guida Operativa: Programma di Intervento Per La
Prevenzione dell'lstituzionalizzazione, Padova, Università degli
Studi di Padova, Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Educazione. See p. 85 for
adapted Getting It Right for Every Child National Practice Guide.
Scottish Government (2008) Getting It Right for Every Child,
Edinburgh, Scottish Government.
Scottish Government (2009) Changing Professional Practice and Culture
to Get it Right for Every Child: An Evaluation of the
Development and Early Implementation Phases of Getting It Right for
Every Child in Highland: 2006-09, Edinburgh, Scottish Government.
Evaluation by Bob Stradling, Morag MacNeil and Helen Berry, seconded from
University of Edinburgh. Reference to the role of Aldgate and Rose in
Highland, pp. 21, 41-3, 92.
Scottish Government (2010), A Guide To Implementing Getting it Right
For Every Child, Edinburgh, Scottish Government.
Scottish Government (2013) UNCRC: The Foundation of Getting it right
for every child, Edinburgh, Scottish Government (Aldgate named as
Welsh Government (2012) Ministerial Foreword to Statutory Guidance, Protecting
Children in Wales: Guidance for Arrangements for Multi-Agency Child
Practice Reviews, Cardiff, Welsh Government. Also available online
Sources to corroborate the work in Scotland:
Director of Health and Social Care, Highland Council
Head of Better Life Chances Unit, Scottish Government
Former Chair of the Advisory Committee, The Fostering Network (now an
Independent Social Work Consultant).
Sources to corroborate the work in Wales:
Former Assistant Chief Inspector, Care and Social Services Inspectorate
Wales (now retired)
Head of Safeguarding, Children's Social Services Directorate, Welsh