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Children’s social care review officially launches

The independent review of children’s social care has officially launched after the government announced it would be set up back in January.

The anticipated independent review of children’s social care designed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children in England was launched by education secretary Gavin Williamson in January. Mr Williamson also announced that former teacher Josh MacAlister, who founded the social work charity Frontline in 2013, had been appointed to lead the review.

This week, the review formally launched with its new website with the new Experts by Experience Board announced.

Mr MacAlister said: “To mark my first day on the review, I’ve decided to set out the early thinking on the review’s work, both the question I think we should try to answer and how we will approach answering it. This has been informed by the many responses I’ve received from the Call for Advice.

“I want this review to be a transparent and iterative process, and so I’ll regularly share what I’m thinking and open it up for feedback and improvement. I’m sure I won’t always get things right the first time, and inevitably not everyone will always agree, but by having a debate and listening to a range of voices, I believe we will be able to build the best possible recommendations about how to reform the system and achieve real change,” he added.

Following an open expression of interest process, the review has now established an Experts by Experience Board after receiving 1,011 applications to join the Board.
All members of the Board have lived experience of children’s social care. The Board will help guide the review on its approach to hearing the voices of children, young people, adults and families throughout the review. Members of the Board can be viewed here.

Mr MacAlister added that he has started work with a Call for Advice rather than a formal Call for Evidence, to shape his thinking about the review. So far more than 750 responses have been received to the Call for Advice, raising invaluable points to inform his thinking.

In addition to the Call for Advice, he has today launched a Call for Evidence, aiming to explore academic and professional research and evidence, not already submitted via the Call for Advice, which can support the review. In particular, Mr MacAllister is seeking input from researchers and those delivering services they have evaluated on the following:

i) where there is robust evidence and research about children's social care and connected public services;

ii) where there are gaps in knowledge or conflicting views;

iii) where evidence supports changes in practice; and

iv) if there is overlooked evidence or research that I should be aware of.

Anyone with questions can contact Review.ChildrensSocialCare@education.gov.uk and the Call for Evidence will close on 30th March 2021. More information is available here .

You can find out more about a member of the Experts by Experience Board Charmaine Orchard here .

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