We aim to improve the quality of service delivery by improving the quality of practice.

We work at all levels in and across organisations that do direct work with children and families. Our focus is on achieving a culture change in approaches to assessment, in thinking about thresholds, and in planning and delivering services in response. Commissions range from large-scale organisational change programmes to discrete pieces of work such as training and coaching practitioners and doing independent assessments and serious case reviews.

Our work has been most successful where organisations are trying to move away from practice and service delivery focused on checklists and targets and replace it with a culture of analysis and critical thinking. We are committed to systemic change and have designed approaches for staff at all levels that we customise to suit individual organisations and local circumstances.

The practice work is informed by our analytical framework which uses the linked concepts of needs, seriousness of needs, desired outcomes and services (or work to be done).

Current Work

Case Reviews and independent assessments

When we carry out these independent overviews of cases causing concern to local authorities we ensure they can act as a learning opportunity for practitioners across the organisation.

Commissioned by various local authorities

Action learning sets – for middle and senior managers

These facilitate an analytical approach as the basis for assessment, planning and review; in supporting leadership skills and team working; and as the basis for implementing change, including recommendations from the Munro Review.

Commissioned by various local authorities

Case Study workshops – for practitioners, supervisors and first-line managers

We offer popular case study workshops where practitioners across children’s services develop clear needs-led, outcome-focused plans for children and families they are currently working with. Strategic managers have found the approach valuable in developing their Ofsted and Munro Implementation Plans.

Commissioned by various local authorities

Change Project: Analysis and Critical Thinking in Assessment

Working alongside managers and practitioners, we developed and piloted a set of evidence-informed resources and approaches to promote analysis and critical thinking in assessment.

Commissioned by Research in Practice

Establishing a culture of quality practice across children’s social care and health

A series of learning sets – organised on a locality basis for first-line managers in education, health and social care – to help embed a move to service delivery under the auspices of the ‘Right First Time’ programme.

Commissioned by: Gloucestershire County Council

Delivering service improvement

A project that uses the analytical framework to underpin the authority’s improvement programme for staff at all levels in and across the organisation.

Commissioned by Sandwell Council

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Parental mental health problems – messages from research, policy and practice

A review that distils the findings of UK and international research about the impact of parental mental health problems on children and other family members. It supports the case for bridging the gap between adult and children’s services and draws out messages of particular relevance to those commissioning and delivering services for children and families.

Commissioned by Research in Practice (2004)

Analysis and critical thinking in assessment

A resource pack, developed with managers and practitioners and based on the analytical framework, to improve analysis in assessment work.

Commissioned by Research in Practice

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