The Centre for Excellence and Outcomes (C4EO), launched in July 2008, is a collaborative centre that gathers and shares the best available knowledge and evidence of ‘what works’ to contribute to improving outcomes for children, young people and their families.
C4EO does this by identifying, coordinating and communicating local, regional and national ‘what works’ knowledge about systems and practices that have improved outcomes in services for children, young people and their families. C4EO shares this knowledge with the children’s sector and offers tailored support to LAs and their local partners, working with them to help them improve outcomes for their priorities in their local context.
C4EO, under the leadership of its director, Christine Davies CBE, is run by a consortium led by the National Children's Bureau (NCB) and draws on the expertise of its core partners:
In the three years of its grant (2008-11), C4EO has been working on nine themes:
C4EO has also developed a cost effectiveness template and is applying this to case studies to show how cost effective those interventions are.
For further information about C4EO, visit the C4EO website.
C4EO has not been tasked with conducting primary research as there are many organisations that do that very well. However, research evidence is not always presented in a way that is easily accessible and useful for practitioners. C4EO gathers information from existing research and this is enhanced with knowledge from local practice, which is put through a rigorous process of validation. This information is used to inform the change of systems and practice on the ground to improve the delivery of services.
It is a sector-led approach that takes its improvement workforce – the sector specialists – from the sector on part-time secondments, trains them in the knowledge gathered by C4EO and in Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA) methods, accredits them and deploys them to provide peer support where required. It is a ‘for the sector, from the sector’ model of improvement that benefits all concerned.
C4EO is not an interventionist model. It is not responsible for performance management of LAs and does not report back to central or regional government on the help requested or given to individual LAs. LA engagement with the C4EO is entirely voluntary and at their request. C4EO provides an offer of resource and support to local authorities based on the principle of 'for the sector, from the sector'. C4EO provides easy access to data, evidence, intelligence and knowledge, and helps LAs apply this learning in their local area.
C4EO is unique in that it collates the knowledge and expertise of many of the sector's most trusted organisations to provide a single, comprehensive picture of current effective practice on its priority issues. Because C4EO's director and the core and strategic partners have strong connections throughout the children's sector, C4EO can identify and work with a wide range of existing networks to disseminate knowledge and support local authorities and their partners. The sector specialists are drawn directly from the sector and are deployed at the request of LAs. They are not directed by or report to central government and the service is therefore different to most other forms of improvement support.
C4EO is primarily aimed at LAs and their partners at both the strategic and operational levels, including
Improving health outcomes runs through several of C4EO's themes, for example, improving the emotional health of vulnerable children and improving the mental health of mothers, father and carers. C4EO is working with policy teams to ensure its work takes into account the current policy position across both DfE and DH.
C4EO is one of the key organisations involved in current discussions on the future of sector-led improvement. We expect to be able to say more about plans soon.
The C4EO website (Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People's Services) provides access to interactive data on a number of child poverty-related issues.