Agenda item

No Wrong Door (Future for Families) Pilot- Evaluation

Abby Hennessey, Research Associate, What Works for Children's Social Care will provide the evaluation in respect to No wrong door (Future for Families).


The Chair welcomed Abby Hennessey, Research Associate, from What Works for Children's Social Care, who was in attendance to provide the pilot evaluation from no wrong door (Future for families) in Middlesbrough.


The Research Associate advised that the aim was to study rollout of NWD in a local authority outside of where it was developed, whether it can be delivered, what are the challenges, what do staff and families think.


The study was not designed to understand whether No Wrong Door had made a difference to outcomes as this would be asked during the next phases of evaluation.


Before and six months after Future for families (FFF) opened, Interviews and Focus Groups were carried out with staff and families, a staff survey, and observations of meetings in the FFF service. Data was collected about recruitment, training and young people supported by the service.


How was No Wrong Door implemented in the Middlesbrough Futures for Families service?


      Provision of intended placement types and recruitment of almost all intended staff

      Staff received comprehensive training and regular development days

      Staff observed to work restoratively (doing ‘with’ rather than ‘to’ or ‘for’), making decisions with families, listening to young people’s voice and aspirations to drive practice. Families strengths were also highlighted.

      Support offered was flexible, creative and tailored

      The provocations, non-negotiables, paperwork and processes were tailored to Middlesbrough’s local context and priorities, in partnership with NYCC

      Age range adapted to 11-18 in Middlesbrough

Findings: What were some of the challenges?


The pilot evaluation resulted that:


      Most FFF staff (88%) reported feeling confident to use the model, but only 56% of staff reported feeling they had enough time to take full advantage of the model

      Competing demands between the outreach and residential work was one area of challenge

      Some confusion over whether to continue to use Signs of Safety and some uncertainty over referral criteria

      It was sometimes hard to find a suitable local foster care placement

      Changes in keyworker due to staff turnover, and transitioning out of the FFF service needed to be carefully managed to avoid further disruption

Comments from officers and service users were shared with the Board.

Findings: What did staff and families think about the model?

      Most staff felt positive about the model and the training. The life coach and communication support worker were particularly seen as helpful, and overcame external waiting lists. The police analyst was also beneficial to address issues such as missing episodes.

      There appeared to be a high level of support for the model from senior management and leadership, and staff reported good relationships with partners and social work teams

      Providing a flexible service, accessible outside of usual working hours, and responding quickly to crises on evenings and weekends, was a unique and valued feature for families. Some young people who had previous lack of trust in adults developed positive relationships with FFF staff.

      Staff changes and COVID-19 could be barriers to engaging some young people, and not all young people were clear about their plan or goals.

      Staff and families identified that NWD had the potential to improve the quality of support, reduce risk and increase safety, and improve outcomes for young people.

Some of the comments made are shown below:


“Well [young person] can talk to her so there must be something there because [young person] doesn’t talk to anybody. [Young person] tells [key worker] more things than [young person] actually tells me.” [Parent]









Following on from the pilot evaluation, a number of recommendations were made:

It was noted that the report was available on our website, and a summary is in the SFPC newsletter. Recommendations include:

      The importance of ensuring staffing capacity for placements and outreach support

      Clear guidance on using NWD alongside any existing practice model, as well as comprehensive training and guidance for partners and referring practitioners

      Based on good practice in FFF, we recommend regular opportunities for NWD teams to revisit the NWD principles (the non-negotiables, distinguishers and provocations)

What works next steps were as follows:

      A podcast about the findings

      Evaluating the impact of No Wrong Door on the likelihood of children and young people becoming looked after, placement length and changes, education and employment

      This is in Rochdale, Norfolk, Warrington, Redcar & Cleveland.

The Research Associate was thanked for her presentation.


AGREED- That the pilot evaluation be noted.


Supporting documents: