What is Supporting Families?
Supporting Families is a nationally funded government programme. It requires Local Authorities to support and track families with multiple identified needs. In Cambridgeshire there is a specific target to work successfully with 496 families in 2021/2022. Using our whole family approach, we ensure that progress made is ‘significant and sustained.’
The national programme also required Local Authorities to embed whole family working within all public services and encourage this with partner agencies. This is to prevent needs escalating and reduce demand on services.
How are families identified for the Supporting Families Programme, and how would I know if they were already part of the programme?
To be included in the programme families must have identified needs in two of the following categories:
- parents or children involved in crime or anti-social behaviour
- children who are not attending school regularly or have been excluded repeatedly
- adults or young people out of work or at risk of worklessness and financial exclusion
- families affected by domestic violence and abuse
- children who need help
- family members who have mental or physical health difficulties or issues with substance misuse
There must be an assessment covering all family members, a coordinated plan across the agencies involved and an identified Lead Professional.
The Supporting Families Team reviews the information provided in an Early Help Assessment (EHA) to make a decision as to whether the family meets Supporting Families criteria. The Supporting Families team will also include some families where additional needs have been identified later in the intervention.
Who is the Lead Professional what records do they keep?
The LiquidLogic database contains a record of who the Lead Professional is for each family. This is a crucial part of the Early Help Strategy to ensure professionals are able to find out whether a family already has a Lead Professional and thereby avoids duplication.
Lead Professionals with the appropriate access are able to update LiquidLogic directly.
Those without access should keep the Early Help Hub informed by calling 01480 376 666 or emailing email@example.com if they are handing on the lead professional role. Team Around a Family (TAF) meetings should be held regularly and the family plan updated. A final family plan will need to be completed when the involvement is coming to an end.
The national Supporting Families programme enables Local Authorities to request 'payment by results' (PBR) claims for families who have made ‘sustained and significant progress' as a result of the Family Plan. It is possible to claim for £800 in retrospective service funding per family.
Sustained and significant progress is measured using the shared Outcomes Plan (SFOP) as an objective measure of progress. The Supporting Families Team uses assessments, family plans and records held on LiquidLogic or Capita One (the previous Cambridgeshire County Council case record system). From these records they can assess whether sustained and significant progress has been made. It is very important that family plans are up to date on LiquidLogic.
Lead Professionals without access to LiquidLogic should send updated plans to the Early Help Hub at Lead Professionals without access to LiquidLogic should send updated plans to the Early Help Hub at firstname.lastname@example.org promptly for uploading onto the database.
It is possible the Supporting Families team may contact the Lead Professional to request additional information to the evidence we have on file to enable PBR claims to be made. For example, attendance information, checking the impact of parenting work that was delivered, or whether or not parents attended groups to which they were referred.
Other agencies may contact the Lead Professional because they wish to work together as part of the Team Around the Family. The Early Help Hub would inform other professionals who the Lead Professional is for a family.
Some agencies (in particular Jobcentre Plus) receive regular lists of families supported by the programme, as a result of a data sharing agreement. Jobcentre Plus also want work coaches to support lead professionals to ensure families are able to claim out of work benefits in a timely and effective manner and also offer advice around progression to work.
All families in Cambridgeshire have access to the same services dependent upon their need. We want all families to experience 'Think Family' working when they engage with public services so all professionals are asked to consider the following when they begin working with a family:
- who does the family unit consist of? Are there other family members, siblings, adults?
- what are their individual and whole family needs and are these being addressed?
- who is the Lead Professional? Is there a family plan? If not, is one required?