England Innovation Project Report

‘You Can’t Grow Roses In Concrete’

Organisational reform to support high quality Signs of Safety practice

In mid-2014, Munro, Turnell and Murphy Child Protection Consulting succeeded in securing English government innovations funding to work intensively with ten local authorities over eighteen months. The project became known as the Signs of Safety England Innovation Project. Funding was provided to implement Signs of Safety practice in each local authority and to work with each authority in re-designing organisational procedures and functioning to better support this approach in helping children, young people and families.

The ten local authorities involved were Brent, Bristol, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Tower Hamlets, Wakefield, West Sussex, and Wokingham.

On this page you will find links to the action research final report – authored by Eileen Munro, Andrew Turnell and Terry Murphy – along with various supporting documents.

EIP leaders workshop
Above: Participants at the inaugural EIP leaders workshop, London, November 2014.



Click to download the report (PDF, 3.9MB)

Documents Referenced in the Report

Reporting on transformational and necessarily extensive reforms in ten local authorities is potentially a vast task and the action research was a modest strand of the work. Therefore the report provides a broad brush picture of what has happened, picking out key themes and illustrating the diversity of the implementations. It is structured as a list of key elements of the reforms, but attention is given to reporting on how successfully these elements must interact to produce the desired changes.

More detail can be found within the documents and worked examples of reforms linked below.

  1. Signs of Safety Implementation Framework – page 20
  2. Sample Newsletter – page 20
  3. Risk Principles in Children’s Services – page 29
  4. National Core Data Set Report and Proposal – page 34
  5. Signs of Safety Staff Training Data – page 40
  6. Adapted Common Assessment Form – page 48
  7. Terminology for Different Levels of Service – page 48
  8. Public Law Outline – page 49




  • Sources of Evidence

The Implementation Framework

Revised Signs of Safety Practice and Organisational Theories of Change

  • Signs of Safety Practice Theory of Change
    • Assessment and Analysis Cycle
    • Action Cycle
  • Signs of Safety Organisational Theory of Change

The Implementation Process

  • Project management

Organisational Culture

  • Working relationships are paramount
  • Thinking critically

Organisational Learning

  • Grounded in everyday experience
  • The culture around learning
  • Mechanisms for learning

Organisational Processes

  • Practice reform projects
  • Restructuring
  • Information management system
  • My Three Houses

Developing expertise

  • The 70:20:10 learning model
  • Formal Training
  • Reflection methods
  • Practice Leader coaching
  • Daily work – putting it into practice

Parent feedback

Working with others

  • The local authority
  • Multi-professional and multi-agency
  • The legal system
  • Ofsted

What progress has been made?

  • Performance data
  • Partner authorities own evaluation of progress in implementation

Conclusion: Some Key Lessons of theSigns of Safety EIP

Reference List