account arrow-down-linearrow-down-small arrow-downarrow-download arrow-left-small arrow-leftarrow-link arrow-rightarrow-upaudio-less-volume audio-not-playing audio-plus-volume audio awarded books calendar close-modal closedate delete document education emailevent Facebookhamburger impact instagramjustice linkedin location-outline location opinion page phonepinterestplay pluspost preview project reports search-bigsearch-old search share star-full star-open startime twitterwelfare youtube zoom-in zoom-out

Data visualisation in children’s social care

By Nuffield Foundation

A new approach to data visualisation in children’s social care has been developed by Coram and The Alan Turing Institute, with funding from the Nuffield Foundation.

The work is being showcased today to a prestigious audience of children’s service managers, social care data experts, academics and others concerned with data analysis and performance in children’s services including Sir James Munby (Chair of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory). The project was also supported by the Rees Centre at the University of Oxford.

Renuka Jeyarajah Dent, Coram’s Deputy CEO and the project lead explains that:

“We thought the time was ripe to create a new kind of dialogue between data scientists, children’s services managers and academic experts to see how we can use 21st century advances in data visualisation to understand how we respond to children and to provide better care and support for those in need of help”

There is a lot of data collected in children’s services but we are often unable to make it work as hard as it might and may be missing potential insights. Senior managers still comment that more needs to be done to get additional value from the data that agencies already have.

Reports can be poor at describing how children pass through services, processes, and systems, over time. It is often hard for managers to get a handle on the ‘flow’ along different pathways and if the same children repeatedly present. Tables, charts and spreadsheets are not always the best means of demonstrating to colleagues what is happening and initiating conversations about how to achieve the best possible pathways for children and families.

The Alan Turing Institute and Kent County Council have worked closely together to produce an early prototype visualisation, which shows children moving through available pathways when they first enter the ‘front door’ of children’s social care.

Sarah Hammond, Director, Integrated Children’s Services, Kent, explained her perspective:

“The challenge for senior managers in children’s social care, especially in local authorities as big as Kent, is that it can be very difficult to swiftly respond to what data is telling us about children’s experience. We collect a wealth of data and we use it as well as we can. We believe that making this data more accessible to those of us making decisions on behalf of children will allow us to more effectively visualise children’s journeys through our services. In turn this will help us sift through what really matters and when for the children we seek to serve.”

Dr James Geddes from The Alan Turing Institute said:

“It has been a privilege to collaborate with some of those who work in children’s social services. In common with many undertakings in government and industry, social services generates a great deal of information and yet, at the same time, finds it hard to make the best use of that information. Data visualisation can help: it can support the analyst in seeing patterns and commonalities and thus in developing an understanding of how the world works; it also helps the practitioner see anomalies and outliers and thus understand where a decision might be needed. None of this is easy and my sense is that we are only at the start of the journey. Still, I hope that some of the work of this project can point in promising directions.”

Related


Explore our projects

New

Education | 2020 - 2021

Post-16 educational trajectories and social inequalities in political engagement

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2023

Public expenditure planning and control in complex times

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2022

How UK welfare reform affects larger families

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
In progress

Justice | 2019 - 2022

Understanding criminogenic influences on youth offending

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Children living with domestic violence: effects on children’s well-being

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Ethnic inequalities in later life

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

The effect of Community Mental Health Services in England

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Caregiving dads, breadwinning mums: Transforming gender in work and childcare?

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2021

Post-16 educational trajectories and social inequalities in political engagement

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2023

Public expenditure planning and control in complex times

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2022

How UK welfare reform affects larger families

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Children living with domestic violence: effects on children’s well-being

View project
In progress

Justice | 2019 - 2022

Understanding criminogenic influences on youth offending

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2013 - 2017

IFS Green Budget 2013 – 2016

View project
Reported

Education | 2017 - 2018

Growing up digital

View project
In progress

Justice | 2019 - 2021

The Edinburgh Study: causes and impacts of criminal justice pathways

View project
New

Education | 2020 - 2021

Post-16 educational trajectories and social inequalities in political engagement

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2023

Public expenditure planning and control in complex times

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2022

How UK welfare reform affects larger families

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Ethnic inequalities in later life

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
In progress

Justice | 2019 - 2022

Understanding criminogenic influences on youth offending

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Children living with domestic violence: effects on children’s well-being

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

The effect of Community Mental Health Services in England

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Caregiving dads, breadwinning mums: Transforming gender in work and childcare?

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2018 - 2018

Interdisciplinary conference on evidence use in policy

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2018 - 2018

Council tax support schemes’ impact on claimants & local authorities

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2018 - 2018

Improving survey representation of non-resident parents

View project
Reported

Education | 2017 - 2018

Growing up digital

View project
Reported

Justice | Welfare | 2017 - 2018

Addressing the ‘care cases’ crisis: a sector-led review

View project
Reported

Justice | 2017 - 2019

Immigration judicial reviews

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2017 - 2018

Vulnerable migrants and well-being: A pilot study

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2017 - 2018

Benchmarking transparency in government’s use of evidence

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2017 - 2017

General Election 2017

View project
Siblings play ball in a playground - Siblings Contact and the Law
Reported

Justice | Welfare | 2017 - 2019

Siblings, contact and the law: an overlooked relationship?

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2017 - 2019

Asylum policies in Europe and the refugee crisis

View project
Reported

Justice | Welfare | 2017 - 2019

Measuring outcomes for children’s social care services

View project
Search projects

We improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in EducationWelfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We offer our grant-holders the freedom to frame questions and enable new thinking. Our research must stand up to rigorous academic scrutiny, but we understand that to be successful in effecting change, it also needs to be relevant to people’s experience.

Profile