Study Overview

This mixed methods study aims to explore the feasibility of, and inform the design of a new family justice observatory. The ‘observatory’ may take the form of a new or re-purposed organisational structure or network.

The main scoping exercises are as follows:

Exercise 1: A review and report of relevant data sources and the potential for studies at different levels of complexity, the necessary permissions pathways and technical issues involved in data linkage. A description of the options for safe storage of sensitive data, including options offered through the ADRC-E. A focused feasibility study with one local authority exploring opportunities for data sharing.

Exercise 2: A large-scale national stakeholder consultation through a call for evidence followed by a series of targeted focus groups. This will enable comprehensive consultation with diverse stakeholder organisations and individuals.

Exercise 3: First data synthesis and theory of change workshop. Through a formal meeting of the research team and scientific advisors, findings from the consultation (Exercise 2) will be drawn together to develop a preliminary theory of change,  to inform Exercises 4-6.

Exercise 4: Interviews with leaders in the field. A series of, typically, face-to-face interviews will be conducted with government, sector, university and funding leads (N=20-25) to gain perspectives on a system-wide approach to the generation/utilisation of evidence and to address questions of remit, funding and sustainability.

Exercise 5: A review of selected ‘observatories’. The review will involve analysis of web- and desk-based resources as made available by each evidence intermediary and key informant interviews (N= 15-20) with leads/key personnel.

Exercise 6: Second data synthesis and theory of change workshop. Through a second formal workshop, the research team and scientific advisors will draw together findings across all exercises to develop final observatory prototypes. A fully developed theory of change will result as well as 2-3 final observatory prototypes.

There will be a final consultation on 2-3 realistic and workable prototypes for the observatory with an extended advisory board to meet objectives 6 and 7, subsequently a final report will be produced.

The scoping study aims for iterative learning across the project. The final report will describe in detail the choice of model for the observatory, based on a clear, specific and measurable set of purposes, grounded in the scoping evidence.