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  Welcome to the Coram Family Group Conferencing study website

A randomised controlled trial of Family Group Conferencing at pre-proceedings stage

About the study

The children’s charity Coram is carrying out an evaluation of a type of decision making used in children’s social care in the UK and internationally. Coram is carrying out the evaluation, of the use of Family Group Conferencing at pre-proceedings stage, between 2019 and 2022, funded by What Works for Children’s Social Care, as part of a Department for Education programme, Supporting Families: Investing In Practice.

The evaluation design is a randomised control trial (RCT). Randomised controlled trials are special because, unlike other methods, they allow us to reach conclusions about causality. Well-planned and executed RCTs can establish that it is FGCs, rather than other factors, that lead to particular benefits for families. This is because RCTs involve randomly assigning families to be referred or not referred for a particular service, programme or approach. So the only difference between groups of families is whether or not they were referred – other differences are averaged out. When we compare the groups later, we can attribute any differences we see to whether or not a referral was made. This helps in the context of FGCs because families’ lives are so complex. It’s a way of holding constant all that complexity, all that noise, and hearing the signal being sent by the FGCs.

This website is aimed at the 21 local authorities taking part in the study. This eight-minute video introduces the evaluation for these local authorities. They are: Bath and North East Somerset, Birmingham, Bromley, Derbyshire, Knowsley, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lewisham, Middlesbrough, North East Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham City, Plymouth, Redcar and Cleveland, Rotherham, Salford, Sheffield, Shropshire, Southampton, Staffordshire and Sunderland.


Study news



Trial sites

Latest addition to sites:

Redcar & Cleveland

Key facts about the study and documents

Key tasks for local authorities

  • Each time you decide a family will enter pre-proceedings, log-in to the study website and enter their details to see whether the family will be in the 'refer for FGC' or 'do not refer' group
  • Refer only families in the 'refer for FGC' group for an FGC
  • Deliver usual care to families in the 'do not refer' group, and deliver usual care plus referral for a FGC to families in the 'refer for FGC' group
  • Add Coram's information sheet about the evaluation into the envelope containing the pre-proceedings letter
  • Every six months, send Coram the completed data collection template on all families who have entered pre-proceedings