Building a quality culture in child and family services: Strategic Briefing (2018)

Published: 25/04/2018

Author: Bowyer S, Brooks C, Shuttleworth J



At the highest level the statement that 'quality matters' is unarguable:

  • Children and young people deserve good quality services. Quality in the children’s services world means making a positive difference, changing and improving lives.
  • Making that difference motivates staff and managers. This can help with recruitment and retention and provide the organisational tone and culture likely to support strengths-based working.
  • It is important to be accountable for spending public money well. Making the best use of the available resources to provide the most cost-effective services at the right quality is essential.

Nevertheless, as Forrester reminds us, quality and impact are not achieved simply by working hard.

Many well-intentioned rational reforms carried out do not appear to have generated genuine positive changes. For me this is because the reforms focus on the what and when of activity, without sufficient attention to why and almost none on how practice should be carried out. This creates a paradoxical system that is very busy, but where it is often unclear why various activities are being done.
Forrester (2016)

Positive change is supported through understanding what we are doing, reflecting on why we are doing it and how it might be done better.

Drawing on sector knowledge gathered through quality assurance (QA) workshops and examples of local authorities, this briefing offers a strategic overview and practical guidance on how an effective QA framework can support achieving the right outcomes for children and young people, and improve the quality of practice. It sets QA in the wider context of the drivers and enablers, including strengths and relationship-based practice with children and young people.

Professional Standards

PQS:KSS - Organisational context | Promote and govern excellent practice | Shaping and influencing the practice system | Performance management and improvement | Lead and govern excellent practice | Creating a context for excellent practice | Designing a system to support effective practice

PCF - Contexts and organisations | Professional leadership