Reflections from CORC Forum 2023

We were absolutely delighted to come together with our membership, network and other collaborating colleagues at our annual CORC Forum last week. Thanks to all who joined us there.

The agenda offered an opportunity to reflect across a rich range of contexts in which outcomes are being measured and evidence developed to understand how we can better support children and young people. It spanned many different levels at which organisations and individuals are using such information - for the benefit of individuals in a therapeutic setting, in organisations working to demonstrate effectiveness and develop their operations and professional standing, and for research that can highlight and address gaps for some children and young people.

David Trickey, Co-Director of the UK Trauma Council, explored the evidence base that supports our understanding of the impacts of trauma and informs an evidence-based response – and reflected on the outcome measures that can offer an additional piece of information to support work with individuals on their post-traumatic stress. Bethan Le Maistre, Senior Local Development Advisor at Foundations – What Works Centre for Children and Families, reflected on the evidence informing work to reduce parental conflict, and the evidence guides, practical guidance and tools that have been developed to support programmes to evaluate, measure outcomes and generate further evidence in this area.

The presentation from Nerissa Shaw, Clinical Lead at Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorder Association, brought to life what it is involved in practice in embedding a standardised approach to demonstrating impact, holding the importance of making this beneficial and meaningful for service users and clinicians alongside the desire to use a language an approach that partners such as the NHS can understand. Sally Marriott explored the role digital tools can play in supporting clinicians and organisations to implement outcome measurement and to get full value from the information that is gathered, using Anna Freud’s Patient Outcome Database (POD) as an exemplar.  Complementary to this, Nick Tait set out how CORC has worked to make the analysis of outcome data as flexible and accessible as possible to underpin active enquiry by services.

The presentations also highlighted how aggregated data from outcome measurement can expose gaps in support. Shade Davies from Anna Freud presented research based on CORC data indicating that children and young people from Mixed-race and Asian backgrounds were less likely to measurably improve after treatment compared to White British children and young people. Rachael Grant from our own CORC team reflected on some of the challenges associated with differences in culture that we know exist in measuring outcomes, and introduced new CORC guidance that explores how services and practitioners can address some of these.

Among the discussions and reflections at the Forum, two elements really came to the fore for me. One was the commitment to active learning from all of the speakers: while they were reflecting on very different contexts, all spoke to a culture of open curiosity and a desire for shared meaning-making and, in collaboration with other professionals and with children and young people using services.  The other was the centrality of relationships which prioritise trust, respect and empowerment in our work - as a precondition both for children, young people and families in choosing to open up to services, and for learning and change among professionals and organisations and across the sector.

A huge thank you to all of the speakers who contributed to such an interesting event. For any CORC members who were unable to attend the Forum, you will be able access the recordings and presentations in the members’ area of our website – and we look forward to welcoming you to the CORC Forum 2024.

Kate Dalzell, Head of Evidence-led Improvement at Anna Freud


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