We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Sociology

Completed Projects

Mapping Unit

A research project of the Department of Sociology.


The service mapping methodology was developed in 2000 to monitor the implementation of the National Service Framework for mental health. In 2002 the methodology was developed to map child and adolescent mental health services, and in 2005 extended to include child health and maternity services in line with the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services. In 2006 and 2007 pilot studies were carried out to map local authority children’s services and in 2008 the mapping exercise undertook the first integrated mapping exercise of children’s services.

Key features of the mapping exercises were:

  • Online data collection with the site accessible at all times for data revision and update
  • Annual data collection with the previous year's data migrated into the current year's data set avoiding unnecessary duplication in data inputting and building the accuracy of information
  • Information collected at the level of individual services/teams to allow maximum flexibility for analysis
  • Service provision linked to geography so that services and commissioning could be reported by PCT, LA and NHS trust
  • Cumulative data collection supporting generation of trends tracking change each year
  • Live reporting that was sensitive to revisions of data.


The children's services mapping project aimed to create an inventory of children’s and maternity services in England by collecting data from all agencies within the responsibility of Children’s Trusts and the investment in them. Information was kept up-to-date through the annual data collection exercise and change over time recorded.

The purpose of the mapping exercise was to:

  • Contribute to the monitoring of progress in the implementation of the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services, Every Child Matters, the Children's Plan and related agendas
  • Support local authorities, primary care trusts and partners in developing joint commissioning strategies and joint service planning and development
  • Support the development of Comprehensive Area Assessments (CAA)
  • Act as a source of data for national, regional and local performance measurement and monitoring
  • Assist in the bid for resources
  • Facilitate local benchmarking
  • Provide annual updates for the development and maintenance of local service directories.


Children’s services mapping was an online data collection exercise carried out annually, following a cycle of design, data collection, analysis, reporting and review. The data collection involved people within Primary Care Trusts, NHS Trusts and local authorities completing of a series of questionnaires covering:

  • provision and commissioning arrangements in organisations
  • each service, classified according to the type of service provided
  • children and maternity service spend and budget
  • specific performance measures collected through the mapping exercise.
The methodology has also been used for the mapping of older people's mental health services, advocacy and psychological therapy services adn children's hospice services.


Online reports have been developed to present the data at local, regional and national levels and can be accessed at

Published Results


  • Barnes, D., Devanney.C., Parker, E. & Wistow, R. (2009). A profile of children's health services, child and adolescent mental health services and maternity services in England 2007/8. Durham.
  • Barnes, D., Devanney, C. & Murphy, W. (2009). Services for children and young people with disabilities and/or special needs: Report of findings from child health mapping in England 2005 t0 2007. Durham.
  • Barnes, D., Wistow, R., Dean, R. & Foster, B. (2006). National Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Mapping Exercise 2005. School of Applied Social Sciences. Durham, Durham University.
  • Glover, G., Barnes, D., Dean, R., Hartley, C. & Wistow, R. (2003). National Child and Adolescent Service Mapping Exercise 2003. London: Department of Health.


From the Department of Sociology

From other departments

Related links