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Data Regarding Deprivation Is Important In The Work To Understand Its Effects On Various Placement Types

Data regarding deprivation is important in the work to understand its effects on various placement types

Saturday 25th November saw an email from DfE pop into the Inbox. Amongst assorted other announcements regarding schools was one about Ofsted’s Five-Year Ofsted Inspection Data. In amongst this information was a statement about data on the deprivation not being published for children’s social care.

What is the reason? NCERCC have asked the question and are awaiting the reply.

Meanwhile we can try to make sense of what seems to be a decision that runs counter to what is being asked for in the current situation.

Hypothesis #1

It might be argued that local authorities have their own data. Analysis of such material would enable them to be more effective and efficient.  Many local authorities used to employ their own research officers, but these were often one of the early cuts under funding pressure.

Hypothesis # 2

There’s a project running Children’s Information: Improving lives through better listening and better data – Department of Education ( that has the aim of improving “understanding of how children’s information/data might best be collected, collated, interpreted and used”. A greater diversity of voices could be helpful or unhelpful, messages and experiences could conflict or be too numerous to be coherent.

The project aims to “examine whether and how … improvements can inform local authority children’s services, leading to reduced inequalities, greater cost effectiveness, and better outcomes for the children, young people and families that they serve.”

Maybe DfE/Ofsted are waiting for outcomes. Meanwhile 3 pieces of feedback…

There is a need for experienced practitioners to be included in the research team. Currently only local authorities are included. With RCC being 85% independent there is potentially a voice that is not being represented. The RCC sector uses the same data!

It might be argued that the vices came in the findings of the Bright Spots programme, but there were many reservations about these.

As Polly Vizard observes in her blog Defining and measuring children’s needs | Children’s Information ( “frameworks can radically differ in terms of their purposes, focus, coverage, their theoretical underpinnings and their engagement with children, young people and families”

Hypothesis  #3

The data regarding deprivation is important in the work to understand its effects on various placement types. It is foundational for an understanding of need and a planned response.

Government and regulator have repeatedly said deprivation is less significant a factor than leadership and evidenced practice. Practitioners responses was all are important. In any case if there were more important factors then we also have to taken into account the other lesser factors. Nothing can be wiped away.

Knowing the effects and influence of deprivation as a factor would enable a move onwards to specificity rather than sufficiency, through needs led provision. We know this to result in efficient spending through effective care. It would enable providers to specifically address poverty and deprivation with gradual crossing of thresholds for entry into care e.g. neglect – often at younger ages with developmental delays needing rich environments and an upbringing, and later sudden trauma – older ages with specific effects requiring interventions/treatments to enable upbringing and resilience.

This approach moves practice towards planning, what, where, how much, rather than and away from procurement of provider offers that may require compromise of need. It may lead to numerically less provision as it is used more effectively. Avoidance of a critique of commissioning may be a factor, along with not wishing to open the raising of commissioning as rationing.

It would also raise questions as to the workforce requirements for caring for vulnerable children. The Level 3 is not fit for purpose and urgently requires the integration of essential aspects for new staff to meet higher level needs.

Trauma informed theory and practice are clearly indicated as a platform for all workers, children and placements. There is more needed too, Attachment, Resilience being 2 further conceptual orientations for services to children.

It is not just that deprivation exists but also the accumulation an Adverse Childhood Experience) and the specificity, density, and duration. This would present other insights than those we are proceeding with at government level currently, of which the recent tender for regional care coops is a continuation (Delivery partner regional care co-operative pathfinders and commissioning, forecasting and market shaping national support).