Sources of information about the views of children and families

National, regional and local data can offer insights from children and their families about their experience of using services and about ways of strengthening the capacity of services to help improve children’s health and well-being.

This sort of information can be used to develop baseline information for your area or custodial setting, as well as providing triggers for testing the extent to which the findings are ‘true for you’. Some sources are listed below.

  • There is self-report data from children and young people in the youth justice system (YJS).

    In community work, the ‘What do YOU think?’ and ‘Over to You!’ sections of Asset should be used routinely at different stages of youth offending team (YOT) work with young people.

    In custody, the annual survey of the experience of young people includes questions about ease of access to health provision and feelings of safety and well-being (Children and young people in custody 2010-2011: an analysis of the experiences of 15-18 year olds in prison, HM Inspectorate of Prisons/Youth Justice Board (YJB), 2011). After each inspection, a report to the establishment provides findings from these questions and is a possible source of information about your local area. Summaries of the reports are available on the Ministry of Justice website.

  • There are thematic reviews about healthcare provision, conducted by the Care Quality Commission and HM Inspectorate of Probation, and there are also the more routine inspections of YOTs, conducted by HM Inspectorate of Probation, that report on health and health-related matters.
  • Information about individual secure establishments is available in Ofsted and HM Inspectorate of Prison reports, and in occasional reports to establishments by the voluntary organisations that provide visiting advocacy service to secure settings. Find out more about services from Voice and Bernardos.

  • Local authority (and some health authority) local plans will include findings from consultation with users and families. They will draw, for instance, on children in care councils and other forums for looked after children, and on views collected through PALS and local authority complaints and representations procedures. Consider, too, what might be available through local youth councils, children’s cabinet meetings and Youth Parliaments: there have been attempts in some areas to reach out to vulnerable children not usually included in such activity. You should find this sort of information on the local authority’s website.

  • The issues explored in the TellUs online surveys that were conducted in schools are relevant to children and young people in the YJS. These surveys are no longer conducted, and they could not be completed by those held in a secure setting or otherwise not at school, but the findings give insights into young people’s views about bullying, drug use, feeling safe, things they worry about, and sources of advice on healthy eating, sexual health and other public health topics. These survey questions can suggest ideas to explore, or serve as prompts for developing hypotheses to test in your HWBNA work. See an Overview of Tellus survey (DCSF, 2010).

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