Deprivation and Inequalities in Children's Services Interventions


Nuffield Foundation




February 2013 - April 2014

Project team

Professor Paul Bywaters (University of Huddersfield)
Geraldine Brady (Nottingham Trent University)
Tim Sparks
Elizabeth Bos


Project objectives

The central aim was to examine the role of deprivation in explaining differences in key children’s services’ interventions between and within local authorities (LAs) in England. Its objectives were

  • to relate core markers of child safeguarding (the proportion of children looked after, subject to a child protection plan or in need) to Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) scores for small areas within LAs by re-analysing routinely collected data
  • to begin to explore the implications of the analysis for the allocation of resources, workforce skills and intervention strategies
  • to design a programme of subsequent studies to explore these issues further.

Impact statement

The data set is available below. Individual LAs have begun to re-analyse the data for their own purposes in discussion with the research team.

Presentations on the project were given over 10 seminars and conferences with audiences including policy makers, senior managers, practitioners, social work students and researchers in the four UK countries. International presentations were also given at the major global social work conference of 2014, in Melbourne, Australia, with further invited presentations made in Belgium, Slovenia and Scotland throughout 2015.

The work was publicised through 3 short research briefings and was widely disseminated through Research in Practice (RIP) and Family Rights Group (FRG), an FRG Blog, Twitter feeds and published newspaper letters. Two peer reviewed journal articles were published with a third under review.

Meetings or contacts to discuss findings were held with the Department for Education, the DCLG, the Child Poverty Unit, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the Struggling Families Alliance, Michael Marmot’s Institute of Health Excellence and, through third parties, with key leaders across the 4 UK countries.

Based on this pilot project a proposal for a major study of child welfare inequalities across the four UK countries has been awarded a two grant of £557,000 by the Nuffield Foundation. 


For further information:

Paul Bywaters, Inequalities in Child Welfare: Towards a New Policy, Research and Action Agenda. (British Journal of Social Work (2013) 1-18)

See the related project 'The relationship between poverty, child abuse and neglect'

See the related project: 'Identifying and Understanding Inequalities In Child Welfare Intervention Rates'

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