Early Help

Barking and Dagenham’s vision for Early Help is as follows:

 “That the Council, with its partners, will work in a holistic way, to provide families – including those with additional and complex needs with the interventions required to build resilience and help them thrive. Those interventions will be co-ordinated and sequenced in a way that maximises resources and minimises duplication, communicating with children and families in a clear and co-ordinated manner”.

Barking and Dagenham want Early Help to be effective. Our aim is to work together to grow healthier, happier families and a stronger local community.  As a borough we aim is to provide a holistic seamless service to children and families and ensure that those that most need help receive the support that they require at the earliest opportunity to prevent crisis and escalation.

Early Help is intervening early and as soon as possible to tackle problems emerging for children, young people and their families. We want to offer help to children and families before problems are evident and in providing help and support when low level problems emerge. This includes both help in the early years of a child or young person’s life or at any stage in their lives as and when additional needs arise.

Early Help is not about specialist or statutory services for children, young people and their families. These are services that are there to support families who have complex and significant difficulties e.g. risk of harm, offending or acute health needs. Early Help focuses on intervening before significant needs emerge or in preventing the escalation of need for children, young people and families.

Successful Early Help ensures timely intervention to meet families’ needs prior to issues reaching crisis point. It is vital to reinforce families’ own skills and empower them to define their life course. This can help reduce poor outcomes and break cycles of dependency on services.

This places a statutory responsibility on all partner agencies to comply with and work together to:

  • identify children who need safeguarding
  • offer early help and do this effectively to create positive change
  • keep children with families and reduce the need for statutory services

Doing this well will ensure:

  • we identify the children who need safeguarding at the earliest point
  • we make a significant and timely intervention to secure the child’s safety and wellbeing within their family.

In order to realise this vision, we will work to ensure that every child and young person in our community is kept safe; given the best start in life; supported to learn and be economically independent and is physically and emotionally healthy.

This involves joining up the way we work across the Council and with our partners, from commissioning to delivery, to ensure a seamless and effective experience for young people and their families.

Community Solutions – helping people to help themselves

The purpose of Community Solutions is early resolution and problem-solving to help residents to become more self-sufficient and resilient.  It tackles the multiple needs of households in a joined-up way and at an early stage.  It comprises multi-disciplinary and multi-agency teams that collaborate closely with partners in the voluntary and statutory sectors to deliver early intervention and preventative support.

This service is the engine room of our vision to see our residents benefit from growth.  It is driven by an ethos of resilience and self-help. For most adults of working age the route out of poverty is employment.  The service will therefore have a strong orientation to helping individuals to obtain work or to develop skills to obtain better-paid jobs.

Community Solutions has four key objectives that drive this target operating model.

  • Resolve early – focus on prevention and early intervention to prevent escalation and crisis;
  • Increase resilience – support well-resourced communities, households and individuals to tackle entrenched social issues and to be independent by finding ways to help themselves;
  • Reduce demand – we must not only understand and react to need but understand the source and manage demand positively.
  • Realise savings – we will move as many services to online and digital as possible, streamline customer access and work with people to give them advice and support that helps them stay out of integration services. We will focus on ‘net’ demand reduction rather than absolute demand reduction.

Community Solutions delivers multi agency commitment, including consistency in approach, partnership working and shared resources.

Early Intervention and Prevention Strategy 2018 – 2023

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) is committed to providing Early Help services for children and families. We believe that these can only be delivered effectively through partnership with all statutory, private and third sector agencies providing services within the borough.

The Early Intervention and Prevention Strategy 2018 – 2023 is currently being drafted. This is our 5 year approach to support how we will work together in Barking and Dagenham to make early intervention the core of what we do. It assesses where we are against our outcomes on work that has started  and outlines the plans in place in order to address any gaps.

This strategy will

  • establish the principles around which Early Help services are organised;
  • outline the strategic objectives of Early Help;
  • set out the arrangements for governance and accountability;
  • define performance and outcome expectations;
  • reflect the national and local context
  • describe the infrastructure available to deliver Early Help
  • detail the actions required for effective delivery.

Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

CAF and Family CAF (FCAF) are Barking and Dagenham’s primary assessment and service coordination delivery tools for Early Help. They support inter-agency working through holistic assessment, improved coordination, cooperation and effective information sharing between agencies through the Team alongside the Family (TAF) approach.

Early Help and prevention intervention is vital to safeguarding children and young people. In Barking and Dagenham our Early Help and prevention work continues to evolve with integrated pathways established across the partnership.

In 2012/13 Barking and Dagenham introduced an additional early intervention tool called Family CAF. It has been primarily used by the Troubled Families Team to support the Troubled Families initiative; however, it is also used by universal and targeted services across the partnership.

For more information contact:

Craig Fitt-Cook
Phone: 020 8724 8353
Email: craig.fitt-cook@lbbd.gov.uk

Troubled Families

As a result of the civil disturbances across London in August 2011, central government established a Troubled Families agenda with a focus on turning around the lives of Britain’s most ‘troubled families.

Barking and Dagenham have since re-focused the things we provide, the way we provide them and who provides them so we reduce duplication/streamline – making efficiencies in the way we collectively deliver.

The Troubled Families (TF) project, launched in 2013 is a targeted intervention for families who face multiple issues, including crime, anti-social behaviour, truancy, unemployment, mental health problems and domestic abuse. As part of the programme, Local authorities identify ‘troubled families’ in their area and assign a key worker to act as a single point of contact.

LBBD was invited to be an Early Starter for Phase 2 of the Troubled Families Programme. Phase 2 aims to ‘run round’ another 400,000 families nationally by March 2020. To be eligible for Troubled Families Phase 2 (TF2), families must meet 2 of 6 much broader criteria, namely:

  • parents and children involved in crime or antisocial behaviour;
  • children who have not been attending school regularly;
  • children who need help;
  • adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion or young people at risk of worklessness;
  • families affected by domestic violence and abuse;
  • parents and children with a range of health problems.

Having managed to embed TF work in the mainstream of Early Intervention services, LBBD has moved away from the stigmatising terminology of ‘Troubled Families’ and now refers to this as ‘TF2’ work moving forward.

TF2 progress is now reported to the TF Programme Board which in turn reports to the Community Solutions Programme Board which includes the stakeholders’ key to successful TF2 development.

This programme has operated on the premise that public services have previously failed families who have multiple problems because they operate in a siloed and mostly reactive fashion. Services have tended to respond to a problem that individual family members exhibit, without either understanding or tackling underlying root causes or the inter-connectedness of other family members’ problems.

Instead, the Troubled Families Programmes have encouraged services to take a ‘whole family approach’, to work with families with multiple problems by identifying the underlying and interlinked problems that a family face and dealing with them as a whole in order to achieve lasting change in that family.

A multi agency and disciplined team has been working with our families that match the pre defined Troubled Families criteria, for the past 2 years. For cases that sit outside of statutory provision, Family CAF is the tool for assessment and service coordination. As of 1st April 530 families have been supported from the 645 families that were identified.

Barking and Dagenham plan to expand the local criteria and embed the framework and approach being used into our Community Solutions Service. This will ensure a partnership wide approach to supporting some of our most vulnerable families and is considered a priority within the Early Help strategy.

For more information contact:

Shaun Childs
Phone: 020 8227 2521
Email:  Shaun.childs @lbbd.gov.uk

Step down pathways from Children’s Social Care

A family needs change and the level and nature of support must reflect that. We want support to be provided at the earliest opportunity. However, there will be occasions when a more specialist or statutory level of support is needed. When that level of support is no longer required, it is equally important that the family experience a smooth transition and joined up approach with onward support.

We have developed comprehensive pathways which outline the interface and continuum of support for cases moving into Social Care as well as moving out (stepping down). This ensures the transition of assessment and action planning, meaning both professionals and families are fully aware of next steps and priorities.

For more information contact:

Kevin Makambe
Phone: 020 8227 3039
Email: kevin.makambe@lbbd.gov.uk

Measuring the impact of Early Help

Barking and Dagenham has invested heavily in supporting Early Help across the borough. As systems are in place and embedded in a number of key settings, there is now more importance on measuring the impact of the services and Early Help interventions.

Through quality assuring processes and interventions, we will be able to provide challenge to those services that fall below the expected standards we require for our children and families. This also gives us the opportunity to learn about strengths and gaps in our Early Help service provision and build that into our commissioning arrangements.

Structured audits will continue to take place to enable us to consider threshold applications and to have a detailed review of cases accepted for long term social care intervention to learn from them.