Standards of evidence and ‘what works’ repositories in children’s services
  • Seminar Room 2, DEF Building, Plymouth Science Park

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A seminar by Nick Axford.

The last decade has seen a proliferation of online repositories of evidence-based programmes designed to improve child outcomes such as behaviour, mental health, relationships and educational attainment. The purpose of these resources is typically to help service commissioners and providers to select and then implement programmes that have robust evidence of effectiveness for targeted outcomes. Most repositories, including those hosted by government-funded ‘What Works Centres’ in the UK, are underpinned by ‘standards of evidence’ which are used to guide the rating of programmes by a panel of experts. While supporters extol the influence of these initiatives in terms of making commissioners more discriminating about what they fund, detractors contend that they stifle innovation and embody an unduly narrow view of evidence and means of intervention. 

Drawing on firsthand experience of developing, applying and using standards of evidence and associated repositories, this seminar reflects critically on their strengths and limitations. It also makes proposals for how they could usefully be developed to inform better service design, evaluation and commissioning in children's services.

This event is open to all. Email laura.gill@plymouth.ac.uk to book a place.

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