This resource outlines the feedback from the Outcomes and Evidence-based Service Development workshop at the Celebrating the Relationship of an IV Conference 2019.

What does the National Standards for the Provision of Independent Visitor Services’ (2016) say about Outcomes and Evidence-based Service Development?

The National Standards  do not include guidance on outcomes and evidence-based service development. However, they recommend that IV relationships are regularly monitored to ensure the child is safe, happy and they are developing a positive relationship with their IV.

The National Standards report provides a toolkit to support IV Services to achieve its recommendations. The toolkit states that:

  • Feedback is asked from the child, IV, carers and social workers. The regularity of monitoring will depend on the length of the match and the child’s needs and wishes. Services may wish to have six monthly review meetings or quarterly calls with the relevant people. Services may also wish to carry out annual feedback
  • Services should obtain feedback from the child in order to monitor the match. This will be more regular at the beginning of the match.
  • Children and young people told us if there is a problem with their IV or the visits, they would like to tell their carer or social worker, who should then feed back to the service.
  • Social workers and foster carers should talk to children about their match with their IV. If any concerns are raised by the child, or the child is not enjoying the visits, the social worker or foster carer should contact the service immediately.

What assessment tools did workshop participants say they used?

Workshop discussions highlighted the following:

  • There is limited use of assessment tools to measure outcomes and contribute to evidence-based service development. Although services collect information through annual reports, this data is not widely used to develop IV services.
  • We heard that in some services they use a tool called ‘Citizen’, which was described as an ‘innovative instrument to involve people in improving service delivery’.
  • There is concern that an Outcomes Framework will take away the uniqueness and independence of the IV relationship.

How did workshop participants  measure the impact of IV on children and young people?

  • Send questionnaires to children and young people, carers, social worker, IV’s, to measure impact and outcomes.
  • Measure the ‘soft’ outcomes during the ending process. They ask both the child/young person and IV about their experience and how this impacted on them.
  • During the child’s LAC review, the IRO can review the impact the IV relationship is having on that child’s life.
  • Gather feedback from children and young people who have an IV or who have had an IV, using different communication methods; email, post, face-to-face, telephone, case studies etc.
  • Measure the length of matches, and how this has impacted on the child or young person’s life.

Wasn’t there previous NIVN outcomes work?

In addition to the National Standards toolkit, the NIVN Project Team worked with NIVN members in 2016-2017 to develop an Outcomes Framework. A Theory of Change model and Outcomes framework were developed but there was no consensus on application.  Some members felt they did not capture the long-term impact of the IV relationship. Many NIVN members also felt that IV relationships are uniquely successful as they are not relationships with professionals which are duty bound to fill in forms on measurements and outcomes.

The draft Outcomes and Theory of Change model is attached.


  1. National Standards for the Provision of Independent Visitor Services 2016
  2. National Independent Visitors Network: Celebrating the Relationship of an IV Conference (Oct 2019)
  3. The National Independent Visitor Data Report 2019

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