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Plans published for The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

Date:14 FEB 2018
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The Nuffield Foundation has sets out its plans to establish a Family Justice Observatory in The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory for England and Wales: Making it Happen. The Observatory will address the need – identified in 2011 by the Ministry of Justice’s Family Justice Review – to make better use of research findings and administrative data in family justice decision-making.

A 12-month development phase will begin in March this year, delivered by a team appointed by the Foundation. The development phase will build the infrastructure and operating model for the Observatory, followed by a 4-5 year pilot delivery phase, to begin in spring 2019.

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The Foundation has identified a fund of up to £5m initially that will be available for the development and pilot delivery phases of the Observatory. The Observatory’s remit will include public and private law issues, and the broad family justice ecosystem, as well as the courts.

The development of the Observatory has been informed by the findings from a scoping study led by Professor Karen Broadhurst at Lancaster University. The study included extensive consultation with stakeholders within the family justice system.

The Observatory will focus on meeting the needs of practitioners who make pivotal decisions in the lives of children and families by:

  • working with them to identify priority issues where empirical evidence may help guide practice;
  • providing reliable summaries of what is, and is not, known from research or administrative data;
  • combining knowledge from empirical research with insights from policy, practice and user experience; and
  • working with professionals in the family justice system to develop, update and test guidance and other tools based on that knowledge.

Read the report in full here.