Does Signs of safety work?
The Department for Education published a new piece of research.. This is an evaluation of the Signs of Safety roll out to nine local authorities which was funded under the second wave of the English Social Work Innovation Programme. The team at King’s began the evaluation some time ago, looking principally at qualitative research, local authority level numbers and analysis of costs.
The report does compare the use of Family Group Conference and other Restorative Practices and in my reading of it, favours these approaches to that of Signs of Safety. This has been said many a time to those holding the purse strings but landed on deaf ears. The lure of glitzy websites and promises of greatness was too great. Nothing like massaging the ego of a fading star to get what you want. The directors and CEOs of many Local Authorities and Health Boards in the UK and Ireland are those fading stars, they ignored previous independent research findings, listening only to what they wanted to hear. It's just a pity that it wasn't their own money they have squandered and not the publics.
I will leave you with this paragraph in the summary findings lifted from the report. You can downlown the report below.
" Signs of Safety (SofS) reduced the probability of kinship care compared with non-kinship care, contrary to the aims of the programme, and an absence of moderate or high strength evidence on the remaining outcomes. The secondary analysis suggests the limited impact of SofS is not the result of varying degrees of embeddedness or the quality of delivery but remains similar even when accounting for these factors. With LA-level data, although the number of children in need was lower in pilots than in SNNs throughout the assessed period, there was no evidence of a change over time. Pilot sites also had fewer ICPCs and CP plans than their SNNs, although this had been the case in each of the previous 5 years. The number of looked after children was significantly lower in pilots than the SNNs; however, there was no significant change over time and 6 of the 9 pilots had seen an increase in the number of looked after children over the previous 5 years. These findings suggest SofS had no impact on numbers of children in need/looked after children at the authority level. During observation of practice in the contrast study no differences were noted between SofS and non-SofS sites on any of the indicators used. However, there were indications that restorative practice in one of the contrast sites had more impact on social workers’ interactions with families. Evidence from both the Yatchmenoff Client Engagement Scale and the Working Alliance Inventory showed no significant differences between parental involvement in pilot and contrast sites, although overall clinical and professional competence across the 4 sites was linked to more collaborative relationships between social worker and parent. The extent to which SofS was used by social workers had no significant impact on this relationship.