Greater Manchester Bespoke Support Project

One of the core elements of the Tackling Child Exploitation (TCE) Support Programme is the delivery of Bespoke Support Projects (BSPs), designed to provide time-limited support to local areas to help them review and develop their strategic approach to child exploitation and extra-familial harm. In autumn 2019, the TCE Support Programme delivered a pilot…

In autumn 2019, the TCE Support Programme delivered a pilot BSP in Greater Manchester (GM) Combined Authority, focused on how data can underpin and inform strategic responses to child exploitation and extra-familial threats. This report reflects on the learning from this pilot project, drawing out transferable learning for other areas.

Local context 

GM Combined Authority is working with the 10 Greater Manchester authorities to develop a consistent approach to child exploitation (conceptualised as Complex Safeguarding) taking into account local context and the different stages of development of complex safeguarding teams in the different local authorities. The arrangements for health and policing in Greater Manchester add additional complexity, with these services being managed and delivered at a GM level, rather than locally.

The pilot data BSP

The pilot was implemented with GM and three of the local authorities, selected by GM to represent different stages of development and maturity of complex safeguarding teams. 

The time-limited pilot data BSP was designed to accelerate and add value to GM’s existing approach to data, creating space to think collaboratively about how this works, how it informs strategic decision-making and how this might be enhanced. The BSP trialled a local area data maturity self-assessment tool, which enabled us to develop a shared understanding of the different starting points and capacity for change in each local area. Data workshops with creators, analysts and users of data explored the implementation of GM’s recently developed Performance Framework, and the ways in which this might be enhanced.

Child exploitation data

Child exploitation can take a number of different forms, including child sexual exploitation (CSE), child criminal exploitation (CCE) and modern slavery. Ensuring that data can be reported against these different types of exploitation is important in order to develop our understanding of similarities and differences between them.

Although not without its challenges, data about patterns of risk and harm relating to CSE are more developed than other forms of child exploitation. Consideration needs to be given as to how far this knowledge translates to other forms of harm and where we may need to be more cautious in our assumptions about risk factors and patterns. 

For data to be used to understand the nature of exploitation, local areas need to look beyond specialist teams working with those children we know are at particular risk of, or experiencing, exploitation. These are only the children we know about. Capturing data about wider patterns of risk and harm (critical to a holistic strategic response) requires a more holistic approach, drawing in data from other local authority provision, partner agencies and the community and voluntary sector. It is also important to ensure that the perspectives of children and young people, and those that support them, are appropriately represented within data sets that inform strategic responses.

Emerging child exploitation threats will not necessarily be captured by routine data collection, and may require dedicated bespoke pieces of analytical work. Having capacity to invest in this supports proactive strategic planning, as new threats emerge.

Extra-familial harm is shaped by the community in which it occurs. This suggests we might look at our data differently, by exploring what it can tell us about where exploitation takes place and, more broadly, what we can say about what it is like to be a young person in this community. This provides important context for understanding patterns of harm and risk, where they occur outside of the family home.

Measuring the quality and impact of services working with child exploitation is challenging. The evidence base does not yet provide us with a clear way of measuring relevant outcomes, or indeed an indication of what outcomes might be most relevant. It is necessary to be adaptable as our understanding grows, and to recognise that there may be differences in what young people, their families and services deem to be positive outcomes – and there may be differences between services’ perspectives.

Developing and implementing a data framework

When developing a data framework, co-production helps secure buy in from those who will contribute to, and use, the data. It helps contributors and users of the data to understand why data is being requested, and how it can be used. It also provides important understanding of available data sources, and the additional work required to integrate these within a framework. 

It is important to recognise that different agencies, and different local areas, record data in different ways, which will impact on their ability to contribute to a standardised data framework. Variable case management systems may be being used, that do not support easy export of the required data. Services may also be gathering data manually, which is time-consuming and could impact the accuracy of data. It is important to understand this context, and to collaboratively explore solutions to this, when trying to enhance the data picture around child exploitation.

Clarity of purpose – and clarity as to what the collected data can and cannot tell us – is important. For example, is it to learn more about the nature of child exploitation in a local area or to measure impact of services? The data required to tell us this, and the agencies who hold this data, will vary according to the questions the data framework is trying to answer.

When a new data framework is being introduced, there can be an understandable anxiety that simple data measurements may be used to judge performance in what is an inherently complex field. Framing the conversation around data to focus on learning and deepening understanding of an issue, instead of judging performance, provides an opportunity to open up different insights and consider what data is required. Reflecting this intended purpose, GM’s Performance Framework has now been re-named as an Intelligence Framework.

Analytic capacity is crucial for making the most out of existing data, and it is important that this is invested in. Local areas may not have access to dedicated child exploitation analytical capacity, but they may have capacity and capability within the local authority corporate team, or health or police analysts that could be mobilised to this end.

Providing opportunities for cross-fertilisation of ideas and approaches allows for the sharing of promising practices, and the generation of important insights as to how collation and use of data could be progressed, to better inform strategic responses to child exploitation in the future. 

Final reflections

There is no doubt that capturing, interpreting and utilising data about child exploitation, in its various forms, is a complex endeavour, particularly when undertaken across multiple agencies and/or local areas. It means moving beyond routine data collection by statutory services to proactively capture a range of data from a range of sources; that may not neatly dovetail into a coherent narrative given the complexity of the field. Collaborative working and understanding of local context are key, as is an openness to critical appraisal from a variety of diverse perspectives as to how data are gathered and interpreted, what data tells us and what we don’t yet know.

Practice Principles

Download the Practice Principles document to explore what this means for professionals, and how to develop your approach to tackling child exploitation.

Please note this is a legacy site and is not being updated. The TCE Programme closed on 31st March 2023.
The Practice Principles and all supporting resources will be available on the TCE microsite until March 31st 2026. Hosting arrangements beyond 2026 will be reviewed by the Department for Education.
© 2024 Tacking Child Exploitation
Registered Office: The Elmhirst Centre, Dartington Hall, Totnes, TQ9 6EL
Company Number: 1485560
Charity Number: 279756
VAT Number: 402196875
Website built by Vu Online

Accept Our Terms And Conditions

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you, the user, confirm you have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions of Use of this open source website as part of the Tackling Childhood Exploitation Support Programme.

Terms and Conditions of Use

Please read these Terms and Conditions of Use carefully before you start to use the site. By using our site, you indicate that you accept these Terms and Conditions of Use and that you agree to abide by them. If you do not agree to these Terms and Conditions of Use, please refrain from using our site.

Accessing our site

Access to our site is open and public, and we reserve the right to withdraw or amend the service we provide on our site without notice (see below). We will not be liable if, for any reason, our site is unavailable at any time or for any period.

When using our site, you must comply with the provisions of our Acceptable Use Policy (below). You are responsible for making all arrangements necessary for you to have access to our site. You are also responsible for ensuring that all persons who access our site through your internet connection are aware of these Terms and Conditions of Use, and that they comply with them.

Intellectual property rights

The materials of this website have been gifted in kind or commissioned for the purpose of being open and free to access.

As a user, you may print off multiple copies and may download multiple documents.  These documents must only be used to support your work.  You must not pass on any part of the materials on our site to third parties and you must not use any part of the materials on our site for commercial purposes without obtaining a licence to do so from us or our licensors.

As a user of our site, you must not modify the paper or digital copies of any materials you have printed off or downloaded in any way, and you must not use any illustrations, photographs, video or audio sequences or any graphics separately from any accompanying text.   The status of any identified contributors as the authors of material on our site must always be acknowledged.

The identified contributors are the owner or the licensee of all intellectual property rights in our site, and in the material published on it. Those works are protected by copyright laws and treaties around the world. All such rights are reserved.

All trademarks, service marks, trade names, logos, domain names, and any other features of branding are the sole property of the respective contributors.

Our site changes

We aim to update our site regularly, and may change the content at any time. If the need arises, we may suspend access to our site, or close it indefinitely. Any of the material on our site may be out of date at any given time, and we are under no obligation to update such material.

Our liability

The material displayed on our site is provided without any guarantees, conditions or warranties as to its accuracy. To the extent permitted by law, we, other members of our group of companies and third parties connected to us hereby expressly exclude:

  • All conditions, warranties and other Terms and Conditions of Use which might otherwise be implied by statute, common law or the law of equity.
  • Any liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage incurred by any user in connection with our site or in connection with the use, inability to use, or results of the use of our site, any websites linked to it and any materials posted on it, including:
  • loss of income or revenue;
  • loss of business;
  • loss of profits or contracts;
  • loss of anticipated savings;
  • loss of data;
  • loss of goodwill;
  • wasted management or office time; and whether caused by tort (including negligence), breach of contract or otherwise, even if foreseeable, provided that this condition shall not prevent claims for loss of or damage to your tangible property or any other claims for direct financial loss that are not excluded by any of the categories set out above.

This does not affect our liability for death or personal injury arising from our negligence, nor our liability for fraudulent misrepresentation or misrepresentation as to a fundamental matter, nor any other liability which cannot be excluded or limited under applicable law.

Information about you and your visits to our site

We process information about you in accordance with our Privacy Policy. By using our site, you consent to such processing and you warrant that all data provided by you is accurate.

Viruses, hacking and other offences

You must not misuse our site by knowingly introducing viruses, trojans, worms, logic bombs or other material which is malicious or technologically harmful. You must not attempt to gain unauthorised access to our site, the server on which our site is stored or any server, computer or database connected to our site. You must not attack our site via a denial-of-service attack or a distributed denial-of service attack.

By breaching this provision, you would commit a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. We will report any such breach to the relevant law enforcement authorities and we will co-operate with those authorities by disclosing your identity to them. In the event of such a breach, your right to use our site will cease immediately.

We will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a distributed denial-of-service attack, viruses or other technologically harmful material that may infect your computer equipment, computer programs, data or other proprietary material due to your use of our site or to your downloading of any material posted on it, or on any website linked to it.

Linking to our site

You may link to our home page, provided you do so in a way that is fair and legal and does not damage our reputation or take advantage of it, but you must not establish a link in such a way as to suggest any form of association, approval or endorsement on our part where none exists.

You must not establish a link from any website that is not owned by you.

Our site must not be framed on any other site, nor may you create a link to any part of our site other than the home page. We reserve the right to withdraw linking permission without notice. The website from which you are linking must comply in all respects with the content standards set out in our Acceptable Use Policy (below).

If you wish to make any use of material on our site other than that set out above, please address your request to

Links from our site

Where our site contains links to other sites and resources provided by third parties, these links are provided for your information only. We have no control over the contents of those sites or resources, and accept no responsibility for them or for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of them.

Jurisdiction and applicable law

The English courts will have non-exclusive jurisdiction over any claim arising from, or related to, a visit to our site although we retain the right to bring proceedings against you for breach of these conditions in your country of residence or any other relevant country.

These Terms and Conditions of Use of use and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with them or their subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims) shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales.

International partners

Research in Practice is only able to provide technical support for our web services in English.

In the event of any legal dispute or claim, the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction.

Storage, retention and access to data will be treated in accordance with our obligations under United Kingdom data protection legislation.

Acceptable Use Policy

Prohibited uses:

You may use our site only for lawful purposes. You may not use our site:

  • In any way that breaches any applicable local, national or international law or regulation.
  • In any way that is unlawful or fraudulent, or has any unlawful or fraudulent purpose or effect.
  • For the purpose of harming or attempting to harm minors in any way.
  • To send, knowingly receive, upload, download, use or re-use any material which does not comply with our content standards (below).
  • To transmit, or procure the sending of, any unsolicited or unauthorised advertising or promotional material or any other form of similar solicitation (spam).
  • To knowingly transmit any data, send or upload any material that contains viruses, Trojan horses, worms, time-bombs, keystroke loggers, spyware, adware or any other harmful programs or similar computer code designed to adversely affect the operation of any computer software or hardware.

You also agree:

  • Not to reproduce, duplicate, copy or re-sell any part of our site in contravention of the provisions of our Terms and Conditions of Use (above).
  • Not to access without authority, interfere with, damage or disrupt:
    • any part of our site;
    • any equipment or network on which our site is stored;
    • any software used in the provision of our site; or
    • any equipment or network or software owned or used by any third party.

Breach of Acceptable Use Policy:

We will determine, in our discretion, whether there has been a breach of this Acceptable Use Policy through your use of our site. When a breach of this policy has occurred, we may take such action as we deem appropriate.

Failure to comply with this Acceptable Use Policy constitutes a material breach of the Terms and Conditions of Use upon which you are permitted to use our site, and may result in our taking all or any of the following actions:

  • Issue of a warning to you.
  • Legal proceedings against you for reimbursement of all costs on an indemnity basis (including, but not limited to, reasonable administrative and legal costs) resulting from the breach.
  • Further legal action against you.
  • Disclosure of such information to law enforcement authorities as we reasonably feel is necessary.

We exclude liability for actions taken in response to breaches of this Acceptable Use Policy. The responses described in this policy are not limited, and we may take any other action we reasonably deem appropriate.

Changes to the Acceptable Use Policy

We may revise this Acceptable Use Policy at any time by amending this page. You are expected to check this page from time to time to take notice of any changes we make, as they are legally binding on you. Some of the provisions contained in this Acceptable Use Policy may also be superseded by provisions or notices published elsewhere on our site.

Your concerns

If you have any concerns about material which appears on our site, please contact

Thank you for visiting our site.