Decision details

Early Help Alliance Report to Award

Decision Maker: Children, Young People & Education Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


This report seeks agreement from the Children, Young People and Education Committee to award and conclude a commission for early help services for children and families. The aim of these services will be to deliver a variety of supportive experiences which Wirral families have told us would help them to thrive.


Resolved – That


(1)  delegated authority be given to the Director of Children’s Services to award the tender to the successful group of bidders following conclusion of the tender process up to a value of £705,000 per annum for 5 years (a total contract value of £3,525,000) with the option to extend for a further 2 periods of 2 years each.

(2)  delegated authority be given to the Director of Law and Governance to negotiate and conclude the contract for the new service in consultation with the Director of Children’s Services.

Reasons for the decision:

In 2019, the Community Matters initiative, supported by the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Children, Young People & Education Committee, set out a 2-year plan to work with residents and stakeholders to develop a new model for community-led early intervention. The work plan, which has been managed through Children’s Services Senior Leadership Team, has been completed and the proposed early help alliance developed as the preferred model for Wirral children and families. Support was noted for Community Matters at the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 27th February 2019 including the following workstream “Development of early help- Engaging all stakeholders in the process of developing a long-term approach to early help which is sustainable, responsive to need, proactive in delivery, and is owned by communities. - Stakeholder engagement - Capacity building - Evaluation- what works - Collective impact modelling - Launch a new model by April 1st 2021.” The recommendations in this report seek to secure approval to bring this work to fruition. Support was also noted at the Children, Young People & Education Committee on Tuesday, 20th October 2020.


To allow Children’s Services to implement a new innovative model that will continue to increase community-delivered early intervention for children and families and thereby reduce demand on other parts of the Children's Services system. By reducing demand for acute services, the Early Help Alliance will positively contribute our Preventative Strategy and subsequently play a key role in supporting the Directorate’s Medium-Term Financial Plan (MTFP).


To support children, young people, and families to achieve better long-term outcomes. Early help means taking action to support a child, young person, or their family as soon as a problem emerges. It can be required at any stage in a child's life, from pre-birth to adulthood, and applies to any problem or need that the family cannot deal with alone. Early help leads to better outcomes for children, prevent problems escalating or overwhelming families, create social mobility and support communities to thrive.


To build and increase capacity in local community organisations by investing in a long-term contract which supports Wirral’s Community Wealth Building Strategy.

Alternative options considered:

Do nothing- Removal, or reduction, of this service offer is likely to lead to poorer outcomes for many families across the borough, as well as increased demand within Children’s Social Care and Adult Support Services.


Deliver services internally rather than commission them. However, this is not what families in Wirral want. Over the last few years, we have been listening very closely to our parents, carers, and children as they tell us what family life in Wirral is like: where they feel stretched, overwhelmed, or isolated; what’s great; but also, what’s missing for them. Families have told us that earliest help needs to feeldifferent from us as a Council for them to engage sooner and more fully, this contract will be awarded to organisations that are anchored in local communities, who feel like ‘trusted friends’ to families. The Community Matters initiative, which has been used as a testbed for the new model has shown to be more cost-effective than internally provided family support. It has been evidenced that families engaging with the community-led services benefit from more than the commissioned support as they are regularly linked into other initiatives and support mechanisms provided by the community organisations.


Recommission on the same basis as previously with the Community Matters initiative. Whilst the Community Matters initiative has been successful, it does not have the same ability to generate additional funding from external partners, and it does not promote collaboration across agencies as an alliance will.

Publication date: 24/11/2021

Date of decision: 23/11/2021

Decided at meeting: 23/11/2021 - Children, Young People & Education Committee

Effective from: 30/11/2021

Accompanying Documents: