Reviewing the NSPCC’s evaluations of its direct services for children and families

Publication date 2021

The NSPCC evaluates the services we provide to children and families, so we can learn, improve and understand our impact.

This independent review, led by Dartington Service Design, included evaluation research from over 40 NSPCC programmes. It covers findings from the last decade, including:

  • learning about the NSPCC’s programme delivery
  • learning about the NSPCC’s approach to evaluating our services.

The report also suggests how the NPSCC might build on their current evidence base.

Download 10+ years of evaluation research at NSPCC: what have we learned?
Download the report (PDF)
Download 10+ years of evaluation research: lessons and future direction
Download the report (PDF)

Key finding

The NSPCC continues to be at the forefront of evidence generation and use in children’s services.

The NSPCC has created important evidence in the design, delivery and evaluation of effective response programmes. Evaluations over the past 10 years have found improvements in a number of outcomes, including: risk of abuse; depression and anxiety; child social-emotional and behavioural development; and parent-child relationships.

Other findings

There are gaps in our understanding of what works.

Despite having built an impressive body of evidence, there are still gaps in our understanding of what works for whom and in what conditions when it comes to preventing and responding to child abuse. There are new approaches the NSPCC could adopt to address these gaps.

The NSPCC is well placed to pursue a "common elements" approach.

The report found that the NSPCC is one of the few organisations who could strategically pursue a common elements approach in relation to child protection. This involves testing theories around elements of service practice, which can support the outcomes we want to see for children.

“[The practitioners were] really nice and friendly. It was my happy place. I felt safe. They make you feel comfortable; I could talk if something was wrong.”

Young person in the evaluation of Protect and Respect (Williams, 2019)
“All parents valued the flexible nature of the programme and how it was tailored to their individual needs. They spoke of practitioners being there for them when they needed them and supporting them in the ways they required.”

Evaluation of Minding the Baby (Grayton, et al. 2017)


Please cite as: ​NSPCC, Dartington Service Design Lab (2021) 10+ years of evaluation research at NSPCC: what have we learned? London: NSPCC.