Agenda item

Nottingham Early Help Partnership

Presentation by Julia Bramble, Services Manager – Family Hubs, Early Help and Behavioural and Emotional Health Teams.


Julia Bramble, Service Manager for Early Help and Lead for Family Hubs, and Ronnie Fairley, Supporting Families Coordinator, delivered the presentation, highlighting the following points:


a)  The Supporting Families programme, previously known as Troubled Families nationally and Priority Families locally, underwent significant changes in 2021 in response to the challenges posed by the post-Covid period for Nottingham communities. Seeking a Whole Family Working approach, the programme expanded from six to ten key areas of focus;


b)  Supporting Families works with accredited practitioners from a variety of partner organisations, including schools, the DWP, the police, CAMHS, health services, education welfare, and housing, to ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach. Practitioners contribute to the transformation of services, and provide support to key partners through the assessment and plan, and their role as the lead professional coordinating support for families;


c)  Improving data maturity is a key role for Supporting Families, involving the development of a partner portal to record assessments and plans, and a focus on appropriate data sharing;


d)  In March 2023, Supporting Families held a Whole Family and Early Help Partnership workshop involving around 50 different partner organisations as well as representation from families. This led to the formation of an Early Help Partnership Steering Group in June 2023, which brought services together to work on the Early Help Partnership Strategy 2023-25, which is available on the website. The Steering Group adopted the practice principles of the Children’s Integrated Services department at Nottingham City Council, and the Strategy was developed through coproduction and consultation with families;


e)  The Steering Group agreed five key priorities as a focus of work for the next three years:


  i.  Embedding a whole system approach to facilitate Early Help being an integral part of a city-wide service;

  ii.  Partnership working;

  iii.  Partnership workforce development and structure;

  iv.  Measure the impact of Early Help;

  v.  Pool funding and identify sustainability opportunities with the Family Hub and from external funding sources;


f)  Under the first priority, the Steering Group have developed a partner portal which should be launched within a few weeks, which will be aligned with the Threshold of Needs guidance, and will help to develop a shared language and Whole Family approach;


g)  Under the second priority, the Early Help Partnership website has been launched, to help improve co-production and share good practice. The website has been funded through Family Hubs and launched on the 30 October 2023, and contains information for families and professionals on the range of Early Help services in one place. The website is available in a range of community languages, and additional work on accessibility will be completed by the beginning of next year;


h)  Under the third priority, the Partnership is looking at the language used across different service areas, identifying gaps in services, and looking at access to services. It is developing and delivering a partnership-wide induction, training, and refresher package. It will include a programme of shadowing opportunities and multi-agency events every six months. The intention is to make all partners aware of each other’s service areas, the support available, and how it can be accessed;


i)  Under the fourth priority, the Partnership is looking to establish joint key performance indicators and develop a system to evaluate achievements and identify areas of further development across the wider partnership;


j)  Under the fifth priority, as both the Family Hub and Supporting Families are reliant on short-term, external grant funding, the Partnership is seeking joint commissioning opportunities, so partners can actively support each other to apply for funding to increase the early help support available for families, and to secure long-term funding and investment in early help services;


k)  Granting funding supports some Family Hub services, including:


  i.  A Start for Life Offer, collating all the essential information that families may need to help with children from conception to the child’s second birthday. The electronic version is being reviewed early 2024, and midwives will be provided with paper copies to distribute to all new parents;


  ii.  Support around infant feeding, including public health campaigns promoting appropriate infant feeding, increased support through CityCare provision, and peer support;


  iii.  Support around perinatal mental health and parent-infant relationships, including by coordinating existing perinatal mental health offers and increasing the capacity of the Healthy Little Minds team;


  iv.  Developing in-person and online parenting programmes, particularly filling a gap in programmes for the 0-2 age bracket;


  v.  Helping to develop the home learning environment, supporting parents as their child’s first educator, by improving parents’ confidence and access to education resources;


l)  As well as the funded services, Family Hubs hope to widen access to services more broadly, moving from the previous children’s centre offer (focused on 0-5 year olds) to a whole family offer (aimed at 0-18, or 0-25 for children with disabilities). This includes:


  i.  Weekly drop-in sessions with DWP colleagues at each of the four Family Hubs;


  ii.  Community perinatal mental health assessment sessions at the Meadows Family Hub, through which families can speak directly to a perinatal mental health nurse without having to seek a referral from their GP;


  iii.  Oral health packs, for any family that needs resources or information about positive oral health;


  iv.  Starting in January, the NSPCC will be running two sessions: Pregnancy in Mind, an antenatal support session, and Domestic Abuse Recovering Together, which will be a support session for parents and their children;


  v.  Starting in the new year there will be Housing Solutions drop-ins at the Family Hubs;


m)  Families can contact or turn up to any of the four Family Hub sites: Bestwood, Broxtowe, Hyson Green, and the Meadows. However, Family Hubs follow a ‘hub and spoke’ model, and also deliver services in communities and areas of the City that do not have a Family Hub based in them using community venues, alongside the virtual offer which is accessible anywhere.



In the discussion which followed, and in response to questions from the Committee, the following points were made:


n)  The team are due to have 50,000 postcards printed to promote the service, which will be delivered to every school, health centre, GP surgery, police station, Family Hub, and other venues. Information is also easily accessible online, and can be accessed through a QR code, which may be particularly useful for younger parents;


o)  The Family Hubs provide a strong opportunity to engage parts of the community who may not be involved with professionals, and as part of the promotional efforts it would be useful to work with voluntary groups and community partners, such as the Co-ops and Tesco, who have community boards where information about services could be advertised to those who may not access it elsewhere;


p)  Family Hubs have been establishing contacts with community groups, such as the Muslim Women’s Network and the Ukrainian family support services, as part of work to be inclusive for Nottinghamshire families;


q)  It was noted that Nottinghamshire Police have been key contributors to the Supporting Families programme since it started, and all new PCSOs received training as part of the programme last week;


r)  Members asked if it would be considered for Family Hubs to aim at the 0-25 age range as a standard, in line with some other Family Hubs across the country, recognising the difficulties in the transition to adulthood. There is a network of different hubs being developed, such as Health Hubs and Youth Hubs, so at the moment the Family Hubs have been focused on making links across them to make sure the individual finds the most appropriate place to find the right support in order to avoid duplicating work that may be funded through a different hub;


s)  In some Family Hubs there is more youth access than in others. Young people out of education may meet their tutors on Family Hub sites, or attend CAMHS appointments. There are two young parents’ groups, involving teenage parents up to the age of 25;


t)  Work is being done to look at increasing accessibility, including through consultations with young people, to see what services they require and how best to access them, whether that’s at the Family Hub site or elsewhere. There will also be the potential for expanded opening hours according to demand, for those families who cannot access the hubs during standard working hours;


u)  The team is involved with the broader Family Hubs network through regional meetings for the East Midlands and the Midlands as a whole, which enable teams in different local authority areas to share ideas and best practice, such as in a recent meeting discussing how community fridges work in other local authority areas.


Supporting documents: