How far does a whole family approach make a difference: Designing an evaluation framework to enable partners to assess and measure progress

Malin, Nigel, Tunmore, Jane and Wilcock, Angela (2014) How far does a whole family approach make a difference: Designing an evaluation framework to enable partners to assess and measure progress. Social Work & Social Sciences Review, 17 (2). pp. 63-92. ISSN 1746-6105

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Abstract

This article reports findings from a study to support the inclusion of a Whole Family
Approach (WFA) within policy and provision for children and families conducted in one large northern
local authority in England. In recent years mainly from research and good practice elsewhere WFA
had been seen to offer opportunities to focus on shared needs, developing strengths and assessing
risk factors. The principal aim was to design an evaluation framework to enable partners to assess
and measure progress in the delivery of a WF strategy. Methods included individual interviews
with professionals and managers (N=22) on knowledge and experience of WFA, for example their
understanding of multi-agency work, along with their evidence of adopting a WFA approach. Findings
demonstrate the process of how an evaluation framework was constructed based on adapting preexisting
outcome-focused ‘models’ used to evaluate functions of partnership-working along with
indigenous sources. The fi rst type of ‘model’ entailed a number of dimensions including Vision and
Strategy, Partnership Dynamics, Impact and Performance Measurement. The second had two key
features: it drew upon the idea of realist evaluation, a paradigm used by practitioner researchers
where the focus is upon identifying mechanisms that explain how an action affects outcomes in
particular contexts; and the ‘model’ had been applied extensively to an analysis of family intervention
projects. What has emerged is an evaluation framework characterised by a number of key ‘signifi ers’
each of which is populated by a series of questions. The framework embraces introducing changes
to the culture of planning and delivering services, placing building family strengths at centre-stage.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Social Sciences > Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Education and Society > Department of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Angela Wilcock
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2018 12:14
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2018 12:46
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/8819

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