In November we published the final evaluation report of the Alexi Project ‘Hub and Spoke’ programme of CSE service development. Funded by the Child Sexual Exploitation Funders Network, the programme was a phased expansion of specialist voluntary sector CSE services over three years. It aimed to extend the reach of provision for children and young people affected by CSE, and to leverage the capacity of the voluntary sector to improve local safeguarding. This week we published four short briefing papers, that each cover a different aspect of the Alexi Project evaluation report. Here is a quick guide to the contents. Please do share them with colleagues and partner agencies.
1. The role of the voluntary sector in protecting children from sexual exploitation.
This briefing highlights evidence from the evaluation on the distinct contribution of voluntary sector agencies to local safeguarding practice around CSE. These services successfully engage vulnerable children and young people that other services struggle to reach, through relationship-based and empowering practice. The implications for commissioners and partners are presented, including the need to protect this contribution in contractual arrangements. Read the briefing
2. Voluntary and statutory sector partnerships in local responses to Child Sexual Exploitation.
This briefing explores the value of voluntary sector workers within multi-agency and co-located teams, demonstrating the impact where there is a ‘diffusion’ of their safeguarding ethos and methods amongst partner agencies. Commissioners and managers will need to take account of the local history of partnership working, and the location of specialist workers when considering how to best utilise the expertise and independence of the voluntary sector as part of local safeguarding. Read the briefing.
3. The Children and Social Work Act The role of voluntary sector CSE services in new safeguarding arrangements.
Over 2018/19 new local safeguarding arrangements will be agreed, published and implemented, as the local authority (LA), local police chief and clinical commissioning group take joint responsibility for safeguarding in place of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs). This briefing outlines the policy and practice implications of the Hub and Spoke evaluation for the implementation of these new arrangements. It highlights the importance of specialist voluntary sector CSE services being considered ‘relevant agencies’ and explores evidence on how they can best be integrated into multi-agency responses to CSE. Read the briefing.
4. The challenge of outcomes measurement in CSE services.
One of the findings of the Hub and Spoke evaluation was that CSE services struggled to evidence ‘top-level’ outcomes, because of a range of challenges around impact measurement. This briefing considers these in more detail and places them in the context of the experience of voluntary and community sector organisations more generally. It highlights ways that the field of CSE policy/practice is evolving, and the ways that outcomes measurement may have to change to keep up. Read the briefing.
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