Archive for November, 2011

November 30, 2011

How to scale up social enterprise – A Synergistic Model of Scale — Social Edge

I thought that the article below from Social Edge, was really interesting and worth thinking about for all of us involved in delivering solutions to social problems.  We can see around us examples of quick, government funded responses and also many small social entreprises which struggle to scale up.  In our world, how do we help grow the best of the local work from domestic abuse services?  How do we build the best feedback loop into our MARAC work?  I will try and answer some of these questions but would love your thoughts!

A Synergistic Model of Scale

Hosted by Eric Glustrom (November 2011)

incorporating solutions

As the social change agents of our time, we keep our eyes peeled for any opportunity to grasp that idolized holy grail of social entrepreneurship: a sustainable, market-based approach to scale. However, especially for many Social Edge readers, it’s easy to let advocacy – the process of scaling a solution through policy change or partnership with larger institutions – slip into the distance.

Consider the following diagram:
The social enterprise is the wedge, driving forward its solution. It has a few paths to scale:

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November 26, 2011

Does your service or your MARAC support under-18’s experiencing domestic abuse?

The Home Office is considering amending the definition of domestic abuse to include young people between 16-18.  In the latest VAWG newsletter ( ) they are asking for feedback about the provision of support to young people experiencing domestic abuse – so if your service, IDVA team or MARAC work directly with this age group, please respond by 31st December 2011.

November 23, 2011

New Research from NSPCC and Refuge on Children living with Domestic Abuse in London

Important new research has been published by the NSPCC and Refuge today on the situation for children and young people living with domestic abuse in London.  It is still the case that the researchers highlight the following main findings:

    1. There are significant gaps in services addressing the needs of children and young people living with domestic violence in London.
    2. Some of the most vulnerable children and young people are the least likely to be able to access help when they need it. There should be a stronger emphasis on equality of access to help for children and young people, regardless of their ethnicity, age, gender, disability or parental immigration status.
    3. Children are rarely given opportunities to express their own views, and some professionals are reluctant to talk directly with children and young people and to involve them in decisions which affect them.
The research also comments on the use of the risk assessment and points out rightly that the focus is largely on the adult victim.  Perhaps it is timely to say that we are working on a triage tool that can be used not just in cases involving domestic abuse, but also substance misuse and mental health problems, to permit early identification of children who have needs that are not being met.  I hope too that our safeguarding CPD course goes some way to starting to bridge some of the gaps identified in the report.
And we really welcome the focus on the triage system, especially with health based IDVAs which can permit identification of abuse earlier and support to be offered in a really timely and effective way.  You can read the research at
November 23, 2011

More Congratulations to New Leading Lights Domestic Abuse Services!

It is great to announce another seven IDVA services have achieved their Leading Lights accreditation bringing the total nationally to 19 accredited services!  They deserve many congratulations.  The seven are: West Cheshire DAFSU, East Cheshire DAFSU, My Sister’s Place, West Mercia WA, The Pontypridd Safety Unit, The Sunflower Centre Northampton, and the Wirral Family Safety Unit.  I hope to be writing a bit about each one to give a sense of the quality and creativity of their work.  So more to follow…

November 13, 2011

Mama Cash study shows underfunding for women and girls from European Foundations

Landmark Mama Cash study shows large gap between interest and investments in women and girls

Cover research report Cover research report

On May 25, Mama Cash launched a research report, Untapped Potential: European Foundation Funding for Women and Girls. This report was commissioned by Mama Cash, produced by the Foundation Center and Weisblatt & associés, and conducted in cooperation with the European Foundation Centre.

The research findings point both to exciting potential and to hurdles yet to be cleared.

90% of European foundations surveyed expressed interest in at least one issue related to women and girls. About one third (37%) intentionally focus at least some of their work on women and girls. Yet, in 2009, the median percentage of total grant monies actually allocated by foundations in support of women and girls was only 4.8%–of which only one fifth focused on human rights.

“The gap between interest and investment tells us is that there is genuine potential and motivation for European foundations to step up and provide more funding for women and girls,” said Nicky McIntyre, executive director of Mama Cash. “Data consistently show that no country has yet achieved gender equality. We at Mama Cash hope that this report’s findings will inspire conversations and collaborations that will, in turn, contribute to mobilising leadership and realizing increased giving in support of the rights, well-being, and empowerment of women and girls.”

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November 13, 2011

Ages of Concern – Social Workers underestimate the ‘fragility’ of babies – from Community Care

Social workers underestimate the ‘fragility’ of babies

Social workers and other professionals are not always quick enough in their response to concerns about children under a year old because they underestimate the fragility of babies, according to an evaluation of serious case reviews.

The finding comes from an analysis of 482 SCRs – evaluated by Ofsted between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2011 – concerning 602 children, including 210 babies under one. It is included in a thematic report, Ages of Concern, published today by the watchdog to highlight key lessons learned from SCRs involving vulnerable groups – babies under one and children over 14.

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November 9, 2011

New ideas on the role of online education

Very interesting blog post from the Harvard Business Review about the role of online education – using the e-education part to build knowledge and in-room education or training for skills development and application.  Makes perfect sense in our world.  The post is about school education, but the principles apply in adult training and education.

HBR Blog Network

Four years ago Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen predicted that online education would take off slowly and then hit everyone by surprise: the S-curve effect. And indeed, while it initially grew slowly, online education has exploded over the past several years. According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, approximately 5.6 million students took at least one web-based class during the fall 2009 semester, which marked a 21% growth from the previous year. That’s up from 45,000 in 2000 and experts predict that online education could reach 14 million in 2014.

Consider a recent Economist article featuring Bill Gates’s educational poster child: Khan Academy, founded by Salman Khan in 2006. Khan’s business model is simple, yet impactful. As The Economist noted, it flips education on its head. Rather than filling the day with lectures and requiring students to complete exercises after school, Khan focuses on classroom exercises throughout the day and allows students to download more lectures after school. When students arrive at their Silicon Valley suburb classroom with their white MacBooks, they begin their day doing various online learning exercises. The teacher, aware of what her students are working on based on her own monitor screen, then approaches students and provides one-on-one feedback and mentoring, tailoring her message to students’ particular learning paces and needs.

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November 8, 2011

Social Services have both statutory and common law duty to protect children from abuse

Interesting judgement highlighted by the UK Human Rights blog.  Note that the local authority should take steps to safeguard a child’s welfare where they suspect that the child is at risk  – where it is ‘reasonably practicable’ to do so.  So does highlighting the risks at a MARAC constitute making it ‘reasonably practicable’.


Social Services have both statutory and common law duty to protect children from abuse

ABB & Ors v Milton Keynes Council [2011] EWHC 2745 (QB)- read judgment

Justin Levinson of 1 Crown Office Row acted for the claimants in this case. He is not the author of this post.

This case concerned the entitlement to compensation for the years of abuse the claimants, three brothers a sister, the youngest, who had suffered at the hands of their father. The older claimants had both suffered regular abuse from an early age until late teens. The third claimant escaped the prolonged abuse suffered by his brothers. The fourth claimant, who was conceived after the defendant social services became aware of the situation, nevertheless endured abuse for five or six years.

The father’s abuse of the older boys came to light in 1992 when the first three claimants were placed on the child protection register and the father moved out of the family home. However charges against him were subsequently dropped and he returned home. The names were removed from the register but the abuse continued.

The facts were not disputed but the principal issue between the parties was that of the quality of social work practice adopted by the defendants’ employees and whether this fell below a reasonable standard.

Statutory and common law negligence

The statutory basis of the defendants’ duties is set out in Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.  Put simply, that section requires any local authority, which suspects that a child in its area is at risk, should take steps to safeguard the child’s welfare. However this duty only arises if it is within the authority’s power and it is “reasonably practicable”  for them to do so. The section does not, in itself, provide a civil cause of action for those who assert that the duty has not been complied with.  There is in addition to the statutory duty a common law – or judge-made – basis for the duty of care in the event of suspected child abuse is to be found in  D and others v East Berkshire Community Health [2003] EWCA Civ 1151.

Read the full post at Social Services have both statutory and common law duty to protect children from abuse « UK Human Rights Blog.


November 3, 2011

From the Ground up – Promising Criminal Justice Projects in the US and the UK

I had a fascinating day at the launch event for the Centre for Justice Innovation in the UK, hosted by Policy Exchange, where their first report on innovation in the criminal justice sector was published.  You can download it at  and turn to p34 for the CAADA story.  But actually, you should read all the stories (and if you are reading this blog you might know the CAADA story already) because there are great examples of practical and effective work from both sides of the pond.

Strong statements from Nick Herbert and Kit Malthouse on the need for innovation, and the value of payment by results, great links from Strathclyde between criminal justice, health, child development etc and eye-watering stats from Kentucky, where the prison population had been rising by 40% a year…before some clear thinking, analysis and political will has started to turn that around.  Indeed, in Strathclyde they are about to start piloting the use of alcohol detection ‘bracelets’ for certain offenders – including domestic violence – which will alert police if the wearer has a drink!

November 3, 2011

Great Video from the WI on impact of Legal Aid cuts

A first for this not very techy blog…a really good video about the proposed legal aid cuts from the WI  – click here to watch