Loughborough evaluation

In January 2017 an independent review of the prototype of the Firstline programme was published by the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University. The evaluation examined the delivery of the programme and its effectiveness in developing the participants as leaders, and found evidence of the significant impact of the programme on social work leadership.


  • Firstline leaders were ‘overwhelmingly positive’ about participating in the programme, with many considering it ‘the best training and professional development that they had received as managers and leaders.’
  • Firstline leaders provided examples of ways in which the programme had had a positive impact on their professional leadership.
  • Firstline leaders’ teams reported improvements in their ability to learn and develop others, hold people to account and exercise resilience and self-reflexivity. Senior managers also reported that they had perceived changes in the Firstline leaders’ leadership capability.
  • A third of participants had secured, or were considering applying for new leadership positions. Read the full report here.


The Firstline programme has expanded rapidly since the prototype. Find out more about the different cohorts below: