Agenda item

Commissioning intentions for universal and early help services for children, young people and families

To approve the commissioning intentions for public health nursing and early help services.


The cabinet member for young people and children’s wellbeing introduced the report.

He noted that the first two priorities listed in the children and young people plan related to early help and 0 to 5 early years and that these proposals were about putting in place effective strategies to support these priorities.


The cabinet member thanked the children and young people scrutiny committee for the comments raised by them. He stated that it was regretted that some of the questions raised were not able to be answered at the time but confirmed that answers had since been provided on all matters. He stressed that consultation had taken place with partners in the clinical commissioning group (CCG) and elsewhere as this had been raised as a concern.


The director for adults and wellbeing stated that the proposals formed part of a wider package of early help for families and that responsibility for commissioning health visiting services (0 to 5’s) fully transferred from the National Health Service (NHS) to councils on 1 October 2015. There was a need to change the perception of the service from being a purely clinical service to working in partnership with other organisations in the broad context of the CYPP.


Due to reductions in the public health grant the new contract would have to deliver some efficiency savings. There could be some perceived losses in the transformation of the service but it was deliberate national policy that health visiting services be seen as part of the public health package and not as part of the NHS.


The director also noted that a significant amount of engagement had taken place with events held with parents, carers and staff. Consultations were ongoing with GPs.


The director for children’s wellbeing commented on the proposals for family mentoring services. He highlighted the preventative approach to be taken, seeking to prevent needs from escalating to higher levels by early intervention. The service would develop a sustainable approach going forward and continue to address the council’s priorities.


The chairman of the children’s scrutiny committee thanked cabinet members and officers for making the report available to the scrutiny committee. She highlighted the concerns which had been raised by the committee, including with regards to safeguarding, and commented that there would have been value in having a more detailed report available. The chairman confirmed that the information and responses provided since the scrutiny committee meeting had satisfied the committee going forward.


The cabinet member for young people and children’s wellbeing noted the comments made and confirmed that any service the council contracted would be expected to have safeguarding embedded at the heart of everything they did. He also confirmed that contractors would be made aware of the rural nature of Herefordshire and the challenges that posed.


Resolved that:


(a)  the responses to the recommendations of the children and young people scrutiny committee at paragraph 40 be approved;


(b)  a new 0 to 25 integrated public health nursing service for a period of up to five years, to commence on 1 April 2018 at a maximum cost of £13,070,700 over this term, be procured;


(c)  the director for adults and wellbeing, following consultation with the directors for children’s wellbeing and public health, be authorised to take all necessary operational decisions, including award of contract, to implement the above recommendation within the budget set;


(d)  family mentoring services be procured for a period of up to two years at a maximum cost of £166k for 2018/19, with an option to extend for a further year, subject to continued funding being available;


(e)  pending the procurement referenced at recommendation (d) above; existing service delivery arrangements, across the county, for family befriending services provided by Homestart and Vennture be extended to the end of March 2018 at a cost of £167k in 2017/18; and


(f)   the director for children’s wellbeing be authorised to take all necessary operational decisions including award of contract to implement recommendations (d) and (e) above.

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