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A Better Start Common Outcomes Framework

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What is it?

The A Better Start Common Outcomes Framework is a framework to support local areas to:

  • Use population level outcomes and indicators to track early child development outcomes locally, and
  • Compare trends to national level data where these are available.

The Framework was developed by the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics, in partnership with the five A Better Start sites and a wide range of experts in the field of early child development. The Framework is underpinned by a review of the evidence base and driven by availability of routinely collected data.

The Framework is designed for use not only by the five A Better Start sites, but in any local area that shares A Better Start’s ambition for improving early child development.

How does it work?

The Common Outcomes Framework is based on routinely collected data at local population level and focuses on key outcomes and indicators of early child development. It is based on critical milestones in the early years – birth outcome, school readiness and key stage attainment – and covers the three strategic outcomes that are the focus of ‘A Better Start’:

  • Social and emotional development
  • Speech, language and communication
  • Diet and nutrition.

The Common Outcomes Framework facilitates this by drawing on routine data to minimise the burden of data collection and provide a convenient source of comparison data, such as national trends or data on statistical neighbours.

How local areas can use the Common Outcomes Framework

The Common Outcomes Framework is freely available for download. It can help local leaders, commissioners and policy makers to:

  • Understand the impact of local programmes and policies
  • Highlight gaps in provision, as well as areas for improvement or prioritisation
  • Coordinate local service provision, through an overarching framework that spans different agencies and stakeholders. Adopting the Framework reflects a commitment to improving child outcomes and encourages coordination of work towards a common goal.

Download the framework