Bright Spots Programme

The Bright Spots Programme was developed in collaboration with the Rees Centre at the University of Oxford and was funded by the Hadley Trust. It is a service improvement tool that supports local authorities to systematically listen to their children in care and care leavers, about the things that are important to them.

How does Bright Spots work?

Bright Spots has three underlying principles:

  • Focus on what children and young people say about their lives and what is important to them
  • Ensure the views and experiences of children influence service development and strategic thinking
  • Share good practice between local authorities by encouraging opportunities for learning and development

Bright Spots Indicators

Since 2013, we have worked with children and young people to develop two new sets of well-being indicators measured by our online surveys:

Your Life, Your Care

A survey for children in care aged four upwards.

Your Life Beyond Care

A survey for care leavers.

By working with over 80 local authorities and gathering over 24,000 responses from children and care leavers we have gained insight into the key question, what makes life good for children in care and care leavers?

The Your Life, Your Care and Your Life Beyond Care surveys are the largest surveys of their kind, giving more children in care and care leavers the chance to share their experiences. The survey compares local findings with those of other local authorities, as well as with peers in the general population.

Both surveys were co-produced with young people and the questions are based on what 170 young people in care and care leavers said was important to them.

They are evidence-based. The survey is a robust research tool, developed over several years of research. It is comparative to national data, draws on two international literature reviews and piloting with cognitive interviews to test questions. (Selwyn, et. al 2016,  Selwyn et al. 2015a, Selwyn et al. 2015b, Selwyn et al 2020).

Findings and publications

Findings are published in online reports, peer reviewed articles and featured on social media.

Read more on our publications page

How to make life good: Examples of innovative practice to improve the well-being of children in care and care leavers

Since 2013, the Bright Spots programme has worked with children in care and care leavers to explore what makes life good for them. Their well-being is measured by the Your Life Your Care and Your Life Beyond Care surveys.

Using the surveys, we have worked with local authorities to understand how children and young people feel about their lives and have identified examples of practice improvement that were developed as a result of what young people said.

The 10,000 Voices Report showcases how children and young people feel about their lives and our ‘Resource Bank’ showcases case studies of local authority practice. 

Find the Resource Bank here

What makes life good?

What makes life good? highlights the importance of understanding how care leavers feel about their lives, their hopes and feelings, in order to deliver high quality services and support.

This video is an example of how we gather the views of young people and ensure our work represents their voices.

Get involved

We are always looking to grow our programme.

If you work for a local authority that might want to use the surveys and take part in the Bright Spots Programme, please take a look at our offer or email us at

Voices Improving Care newsletter

To stay up-to-date with all things Bright Spots and New Belongings Plus, sign-up to the Voices Improving Care newsletter here.