The introduction of performance management into the work of social services departments has meant that local authorities are increasingly required to provide data that demonstrate the effectiveness of their services. However, the requirement to produce additional statistical returns, intended to demonstrate how far government objectives for children’s services have been met, has not yet resulted in significant improvements in recording on individual case files. Nor is there much evidence of outcome data being fed back to practitioners in the form of reports that might help them identify how far the care of individual children might be improved. In fact, there are concerns that the need to meet certain targets may become perceived as an end in itself, divorced from the need to improve services in ways that the indicators are intended to demonstrate (Ward and Skuse, 2001).
This is part of the research, Looking After Children: Transforming Data into Management Information: Third interim report to the Department of Health.