The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory aims to support the best possible decisions for children by improving the use of data and research evidence in the family justice system in England and Wales. It is being established by the Nuffield Foundation to meet the needs of practitioners who make pivotal decisions in the lives of children and families by:
- Working with them to identify priority issues where research evidence may help guide practice.
- Providing reliable summaries of what is, and is not, known from research or administrative data.
- Combining knowledge from research with insights from policy, practice and user experience.
- Working with practitioners, policy makers and organisations representing families and children to develop, update and test guidance and other tools based on that knowledge.
The Nuffield Foundation has appointed a development team to complete the set-up of the Observatory. The development team has a collaborative ethos and is working with stakeholders to finalise the Observatory’s initial priorities and to inform its work plan.
Click here to view the timeline for developing the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.
In June 2016 The Nuffield Foundation commissioned a consortium led by The Centre for Child and Family Justice Research at Lancaster University, to carry out a 12 month scoping study to explore the feasibility of establishing a new observatory and its potential functions.
This mixed-methods study comprised:
Making It Happen
In 2017 the foundation published The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory for England and Wales: Making it Happen which summarised the findings of the scoping study and set out the foundation’s trustees intention to establish the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory for a five year incubation phase.
The Development phase
The Nuffield Foundation identified a fund of up to £5 million initially that will be available for the Observatory’s incubation, beginning with a 12 month development phase from March 2018. A development team appointed by the foundation led by The Centre for Child and Family Justice Research are working to build the necessary infrastructure and operating model for the Observatory. The development phase will be followed by a pilot delivery phase to begin in Spring 2019.
The details of this development phase projects can be found here
By the end of the development phase the following will be established:
- The details of the delivery model for the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, with any delivery partners identified and key personnel in post.
- A Governing Board, Stakeholder Advisory Council and Expert panel.
- A Data Platform and Analytics Service.
- Development of a portfolio of Observatory resources and projects
- The approach, mechanisms and quality standards for synthesising evidence and developing guidelines.
- The model for working with regional satellite areas
By the end of the development phase there will be a clear work plan for at least the first year of the Nuffield FJO pilot
- This will include regular analyses of patterns and outcomes, to include regional variation
- A special interest project focusing on infants in the family justice system
- A framework for evaluating the impact of the Nuffield FJO pilot phase and plans for ensuring future sustainability
Throughout the development phase and into the launch of the pilot delivery phase, the development team and the Foundation will engage with stakeholders through regional partnerships and events and undertake a number of consultation activities. Stakeholders will be updated through regular communication, and resources will be made freely available as they are developed.