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UK Comparability of Children's Social Services Statistics

UK Comparability of Children's Social Services Statistics

"Statistics on social services for children are collected and published by the following government departments.

  • The UK Government's Department for Education (for England)
  • The Scottish Government's Education Analytical Services Division
  • The Welsh Assembly Government's Statistical Directorate
  • The Northern Ireland Executive's Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

In each area of social services, there are similarities between the collections in the different countries, but also differences. These may be due to different legislation, the differing history of data collections and differences in the requirements for monitoring policy.

However, some users of the statistics look for data for all countries. One area of statistics where interest has been shown concerns those children who are looked after by local authorities.

Children looked after (CLA) by local authorities

The UK Statistics Authority assessed the statistics on looked after children produced by each of the UK administrations in 2009. A requirement of continuing designation as National Statistics was that the administrations should work together to document clearly the differences between each administration's CLA statistics and scope out the feasibility and need for a comparable data subset.

The assessment reports can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website.

A report has been prepared comparing the legislative provisions in each country, describing the range of statistics produced and providing a set of statistics for English regions, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

More information on the results of the consultation on user need for comparable UK looked after children statistics are available on our Consultation page.

Child protection - exploring the current availability and comparability in the UK

The Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre (CWRC) have been commissioned by the Department for Education to undertake a study to draw together data on safeguarding children and to compare the current position of England with other countries.

As part of the wider study, this research presents findings from preliminary work to explore the current availability and comparability of safeguarding and child protection data in the UK; this is of particular interest given that there have been shifts in policy and practice in recent years and these data have the potential to facilitate exploration of changes in levels of need and service responses in different parts of the UK over time.

Access the document at