Issue - meetings

Early Help Strategy

Meeting: 20/10/2016 - Cabinet (Item 49)

49 Early Help Strategy pdf icon PDF 503 KB

To approve the early help strategy 2016-18.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member health and wellbeing introduced the report. She stated that helping to give children and young people a good start in life was one of the most important things the council could do. The early help strategy was about ensuring a good start and making sure that as few families as possible ended up needing formal intervention from social care services or other intensive support. The early help strategy would complement other strategies in place.


The assistant director commissioning and education highlighted the following points from the report:

·         that co-operation with other agencies was vital

·         that the strategy covered a range of different activities to tackle issues at the earliest opportunity and prevent them from becoming entrenched

·         that the strategy had been endorsed by the Children and Young People’s Partnership and the Health and Wellbeing Board

·         that there would be an emphasis on children and families being able to support themselves, for example by encouraging groups of parents to come together to share experiences

·         that there was a lack of clarity and confidence in the third sector about how partners could work with the council which would need to be addressed as part of the strategy

·         that the definition of troubled families was being widened

·         that the early help strategy should pay dividends by preventing problems from escalating, higher level intervention being generally more costly

·         that early help covered all ages and stages of need


The cabinet member health and wellbeing asked what the local experience of the troubled families programme had been, given the issues that had been reported nationally.


The assistant director stated that there was good evidence of turning around families in Herefordshire through the programme and that there was an audit process in place. He noted that the widening of the approach would require working with 600 families over the period to 2020. The early help strategy would form part of the package to achieve this target.


A group leader noted the number of children living in income deprived households in the county and asked how this would be tackled.


The assistant director stated that one priority was to build up the local economy to deliver better job opportunities. This was an example of the wide ranging nature of the early help strategy.


In response to a question from a cabinet support member the director for children’s wellbeing stated that the number of children with child protection plans and number of Looked After children were reducing and that the number of CPCs was now in line with statistical neighbours. The number of LAC was still above statistical neighbours but plans were in place to tackle this.


A group leader asked for assurances that there would be engagement with partners and that this would be considered a high priority.


The assistant director stated that this was an important part of the strategy and that there was an emphasis on the fact that the council could not achieve these aims alone. He highlighted a provider forum  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49