In Peterborough we believe that Early Help is about ensuring that children and families receive the support they need at the right time. We aim to provide help for children and families when problems start to emerge or when there is a strong likelihood that problems will emerge in the future. This means providing support early in life or early in the identification and development of a problem. Services in Peterborough also recognise that some families will require additional help at various times of their lives and may need to access targeted services periodically to help re-build their resilience and capacity to manage. Support is also provided within the arena of Early Help when families have received specialist support and need a reduced level of support to sustain and continue the progress made.
- Deliver Effective Early Help Services with a strong evidence base
- Provide relevant, timely and appropriate support to the most complex families in our city
- Strive to deliver joined up and coherent ways of working
- Reduce the demand on specialist services
- Enable and empower local partners to develop the confidence to support the holistic assessment of needs through the Early Help Assessment, and co-ordinate support for the family
- Build capacity with voluntary and community organisations to engender shared ownership of the Early Help agenda
- Explore creative and innovative ways of working to achieve the very best outcomes for children and families in Peterborough
Early Help Assessments
We promote the use of the Early Help Assessment as the tool for recording the family’s unmet needs. We believe the document should be a holistic assessment that captures the family’s strengths and needs. It should ask what is going really well? What is not going so well and causing some concern or worry? What do the family and those working with them think needs to happen, and what are the next steps to help that happen?
The Early Help Assessment is single assessment that is created with the family. It should reflect their views, wishes and feelings and what they want to change. It is shared when appropriate [and where there is consent] with other professionals who are working in a coordinated way to support the family.
Early Help Assessments are completed by any professional or partner agency who comes into direct contact with families, and who has identified more than one unmet need that would benefit from a multi-agency support approach. Early Help Assessments are initiated on an electronic case management system known as the Early Help Module or EHM. Training is provided for all professionals who might need to complete an Early Help Assessment with a family or contribute to one that another professional has started. The Early Help Module shares the same database of families as the Children’s Social Care system on Liquid Logic which supports the step-up and step-down process.
Peterborough Early Help Delivery Model
Early Help in Peterborough is based on a commissioning model. The Local Authority Early Help Service supports practitioners and professionals in the field to take on the role of Lead Professional, complete Early Help Assessments and co-ordinate services around the family. Interventions and services to support families are, in the main, commissioned and delivered by external partners, many of whom are third sector organisations.
Peterborough recognises that through there will be some families who need greater support than that available from within the community and require universal and targeted services. Additional resources can be accessed via a range of Early Help panels in Peterborough including the Multi-agency Support Group (MASG) panels; Primary Behaviour Panel; and 0-5 Early Support Pathway. Detailed information on the range of services and support available at Early Help can be seen in the Peterborough Early Help Process Maps: Information for Professionals.
Priorities over the next two years
- Encourage and support families to access services on their own and have clear pathways for professionals and families to access single services
- Support professionals and families to engage in the Early Help Process where there is more than one unmet need that requires a multi-agency response, ensuring those with complex needs have access to a greater range or services
- Embed whole family working with one holistic assessment, one family plan and one
- Lead Professional across all partner agencies
- Provide opportunities for families to feedback their experiences to help shape future provision and commissioning activity
- Continue to support partners to improve the quality of assessments, SMART action planning and case recording to improve outcomes and better reflect the support in place and impact of interventions
- Continue to develop Early Help Performance Reporting and use this to both improve performance and shape future commissioning plans
- Achieve a Payment by Results for 1730 families by March 2020 as part of the Troubled Families Programme demonstrating significant and sustained progress against identified needs
- Support Early Help Practitioners to engage in the use of appropriate tools and interventions to support identified vulnerable groups
- Evaluate investment in commissioned services to determine greatest level of impact
- Assist in embedding the revised LSCB Threshold document, supporting practitioners to understand what can be supported at Early Help, potentially reducing the number of inappropriate referrals to Children’s Social Care
- Continue to work with the community and voluntary sector to build capacity and explore innovative ways of working
- Continue to embed, and where opportunities arise, increase evidence based practice across the City
A copy of the Peterborough Early Help Strategy 2018-2020 provides further information identified needs and how we are addressing these in Peterborough.