The Nuffield Foundation has appointed a team from Lancaster University and the Alliance for Useful Evidence to undertake a scoping study that will establish the purpose, functions, and delivery options for a family justice observatory.
Professor Karen Broadhurst from Lancaster University will lead the team, which will begin the 18-month study on 1 June 2016. Experts in family justice from outside the two institutions will also contribute.
The study will comprise a national call for evidence, a series of focus groups, and a review of existing observatories. A major component of the work will be to scope data sources and address the technical and governance issues that currently stand in the way of better use of administrative, survey and cohort datasets for research.
The need for a family justice observatory
The study is part of a project led by the Foundation to improve the generation and application of research in the family justice system. Earlier work has identified the need for an observatory to ensure that participants in the family justice system have access to a) reliable research to inform analysis of options for specific cases, and b) system performance data to assist in the allocation of resources and the development of new services and interventions. The observatory could be a single institution, but is more likely to be a consortium of organisations.
The appointment was made following a competitive tender. A more detailed description of the scoping study, including other contributors will be published in May 2016.