What is an “observatory”?

There is no definitive model or one function for an observatory and this study is designed to identify what such an organisation or forum might look like and what its functions might be.

The observatory could be an organisation (or group of collaborating organisations) that collates information on research relevant to the family justice field. Working with other research intermediaries already in operation, offering independent expertise in the area of research evidence. It may also contribute to the identification of gaps, identify priorities and opportunities for future relevant research. It may also provide a central source of data that other organisations in the field can draw upon.

There are a number of observatories already in existence, nationally and internationally, all with their own differing remits and fields of interest. Here are some examples:

What is “research evidence”?

Findings from research that are used as evidence towards a particular argument in a case.

Research evidence relevant to the field of family justice is often produced by social scientists or legal scholars seeking to understand questions that help illuminate particular topics or questions, for example, about outcomes of court decisions or the impact of novel interventions. Research can also be undertaken by practitioners and service users working in partnership with social scientists.

Research evidence is different from other kinds of evidence used in court, such as case chronologies or statements of events which are case specific. Instead, research evidence aims to identify broader patterns that cut across many cases or populations.

Where can I get more information about this scoping study?

See our Study Overview section. If you have any questions, email us at: observatory.scoping.study@lancaster.ac.uk

Call for Evidence

Can I submit more than one response?

We are primarily interested in getting a single response from each organisation. However, we can see situations where more than one response is appropriate, for example, a Local Authority may wish to submit a response from a different practitioner groups e.g. social workers or legal teams, or from service users e.g. looked after children. If you’re unsure, email us at observatory.scoping.study@lancaster.ac.uk.

Not all questions are applicable to my organisation, can we leave some blank?

Yes, of course. Also keep in mind that the main purpose of these questions is to encourage a response to the underlying topic we are interested in. So if you can still give a response relevant to the topic (but maybe not directly to the question(s)) that would be greatly appreciated.

I would like to submit a response as an individual, rather than as part of an organisation, what should I do?

This call is open to organisations only, so if you wish your views to be incorporated into a submission, we recommend you get in contact with a relevant organisation. If you’re unsure of which organisation might be appropriate, please email us and we will try to sign post you.

What do you mean by “internal consultation”?

We would like your submission to be informed by internal consultation. Depending on the size of your organisation, this may take the form of a team meeting, email exchange, family court forum, or a timetabled seminar or event.