This evaluation project is managed by the Vulnerability and Violent Crime Programme, which was set up by the College of Policing from a grant awarded by the Police Transformation Fund. It is one of eight projects overseen by the programme. Hampshire Constabulary has developed an intervention involving visits to families where signs of child neglect have been identified. Police officers and children services pay joint visits where they draw up Family Safety Plans (FSPs) with parents/guardians, which make clear expectations on child care and make clear the consequences of non-adherence. The aim is to ensure earlier safeguarding of children who are at risk. Failure to adhere to FSPs act as evidence of wilful neglect should parents/guardians continue to pose a risk to the child, thereby facilitating prosecution where appropriate. The research project will seek to evaluate the implementation of the FSPs, and measure how effective they are at safeguarding children who are at risk of neglect. A cost-benefit analysis will also attempt to identify any economic benefits of the intervention.
Interviews, focus groups, document/case reviews, and Scrutiny Panel notes/outcomes will be used as the key sources of data for this evaluation. This may be supplemented by participation groups with young people, diaries or online chats. Information will be collected on how the intervention is implemented by capturing the views of police officers and social workers to understand how easy FSPs are to use, how decisions are made and the resourcing requirements. The views of parents will also be considered. The impact evaluation will measure any changes in behaviour for parents/guardians (including better care of their children), what support they seek, and monitor out of court disposals or prosecutions received in FSP cases. It will also attempt to measure the impact on the child by collecting data on their views about the use of FSPs.The evaluation will compare outcomes between families in local authorities where FSPs have been implemented, and those in a local authority where FSPs are not in use. Families will be followed up over three months, and outcome decisions (out of court disposals and formal court outcomes) will be compared.