09:10 Early Offer/Targeted Services Review
Ann Clarkson and Sue Cockerill gave a presentation on the targeted services project. The aim of the project is to develop a new service within the department with a single strategic lead. This new service will have a sole purpose of preventing children, young people and families from needing specialist services. By reducing/stopping the escalation of need and also to produce a safe step down process back into Universal Services. Sue outlined the landscape within Wirral and how the numbers of children at the top of the pyramid that need intensive specialist services is larger than expected for a Borough of this size. Sue also noted that a single behaviour issue by a child may actually be a whole family problem, to illustrate that working with the family, not just the child, is the key to reducing the probability of escalation.
Wirral have a low number of CAFs compared with regional neighbours. There are also several routes for referral to services via family support work. The project will result in a single gateway to ensure a seamless transition for families and a joined up way of delivering support.
All targeted services will be realigned into four areas of working to ensure that community knowledge is gained and an understanding of local needs. These areas match the constituency boundaries.
The outlined the referral gateway proposals to include 3 gateways, one each for Birkenhead and Wallasey and one for Wirral South and West. Sue gave a brief description of how the lead professional will work with families and also the information sharing procedures and supporting IT.
Ann Clarkson outlined an example of how the gateway will work for families. Sue outlined to the board what is needed from partners.
Jane Owens made the point that information sharing may be difficult across so many partners, she also shared a concern that the changes to youth provision may also mean that larger facilities, though good may lose the local knowledge of young people.
Julia responded that Council agreed there will be 4 youth hubs and also 4 youth satellite centres. Julia added that the Youth Zone is not anticipated to impact on the other hubs or satellites. She added that the council are committed to locality working and Surestart centres and other local services will remain.
Ann Clarkson commented that the information sharing will be fluid as barriers to sharing are removed. Elizabeth Hartley noted that consent will be gained from the families at the point of referral and will be covered within a privacy notice agreement and information sharing agreement. She added that the role of the information desk will be to safeguard information and select the relevance of the information to be shared. Julia added that one of the clear learnings from SCRs is that information sharing protocols should be in place.
Dennis commented that the idea was a good move forward. He added that he was concerned about the importance of changes within family circumstances, where a situation can escalate quickly, for example the return of an abusive parent/adult. He also added the importance of engaging the whole family including the lone males who are historically hard to engage with. Elizabeth added that the information desk will have real time updates to enable quick responses.
Julie Webster asked what timeline is set for this project. Sue replied that it is expected that Council changes will be completed by end of April with an initial go live date of around September.
Councillor Smith asked whether this may have an impact on waiting lists for children to be seen by children’s social care. Ann replied that it will not directly influence a single partner time scales. Julia commented that the CTB own this process and should hold partners to account where services aren’t delivering to time scales.
Jane Owens noted the importance of measuring the impact that this change in service will deliver for families. Ann commented that a full performance management framework is being developed and will include qualitative measures around impact to children and their families.
Resolved: The Board note the report.