Consultation on new Early Help delivery model for children, young people and their families

6 February 2018 10:05am

Shropshire Council is consulting on a new Early Help delivery model for children, young people and their families. The decision to consult was made by Cabinet on 17 January 2018.

Nationally there is a move to understand if Early Help is available for the most complex families early enough. Families in Shropshire tell us that they are having to meet with individual Early Help services, who deal with individual children within the family.

Families would prefer to meet a lead professional/key worker who will assess the whole family’s needs and co-ordinate a multi agency response, working with the family to help them to find solutions. This is more effective than a number of different services working separately.

By creating multi-agency, multi-disciplinary teams in localities where our most vulnerable families live, we will ensure families are reached who most need our support. This means we will work across a 0–19 age range (upto 25 for those families with a child who has disability for special educational need), and will include early childhood services which describes children’s centres services.

Excellent universal provision will continue to be available, picking up issues really early on, and will work in conjunction with the offer of good quality day care – reaching 2, 3 and 4 year olds, ensuring they are ready for school. We can work with families who have you may have a range of ages of children from young children to teenagers – and offer the support for whole family.

Most families are comfortable with key workers who visit them and build a trusting relationship in the home. The new delivery model aims to build in flexibility that suites a family’s needs. This may be in the home or it may be somewhere else, eg a school, GP, community facility or coffee shop, which makes it easier to fit in with the family’s lifestyle and daily routines.

With a single multi-agency team approach it’s easy to co-ordinate the range of skills and expertise a family may need to resolve their problems. Early Help is best delivered with skilled mixed teams who have a range of expertise and knowledge that meets families’ needs.  Our partners are on board and are keen to explore how this can designed into a new proposed Early Help delivery model. The proposed implementation timescale of March 2019 reflects the ambition to get the model right and to consult with and engage the public, partners and staff, in its design and delivery.

The new Early Help delivery model will integrate services and organisations working with families, to ensure help is timely and effective. We will deliver co-ordinated services in collaboration with our partners, in fewer buildings, as we concentrate our resources on frontline staff with the right skills and knowledge to meet families’ needs.

The council’s overall financial position and plans have led to all service areas being requested to review their performance against best practice. Within Early Help services the proposed delivery model has the potential to delivery £875,000 of savings.

The focus of the proposal has been to drive out costs attributed to buildings, retaining as much frontline delivery as possible in line with the council’s direction of travel.

This first phase ensures the public, partners and staff are engaged through a six-week consultation period – the findings of which will provide the substance and evidence for a new Early Help model report which will go back to Cabinet in spring 2018. For the consultation click here or go to pages.

Nick Bardsley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services and education, said:

“We want to improve services for children and families by helping them earlier, giving them the right support at the right time. One of the things that we hear from families is how frustrating it is for them to have to tell the same story to multiple professionals. Part of this work is about making it easier for people to access more joined-up services and get the help they need more quickly and all in one go. I’d strongly encourage families, practitioners and interested parties to take part in our consultation and to give their views on the proposals.”