Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting : 19th October 2011


Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning


Update on the development of Families First Services in the Vale of Glamorgan (previously known as the Cymorth Grant)


Purpose of the Report

1.             To seek Cabinet endorsement of the multi-agency proposals to develop the Families First Service in the Vale of Glamorgan.


1.             That Cabinet endorse the proposals for the development of the Families First Service.

2.             That Cabinet agrees to extend and renew contractual/SLA arrangements with the following providers:-

·               Vale of Glamorgan Council Learning and Development Directorate

·               Social Services Directorate

·               Leisure and Tourism

·               Flying Start

·               Gibbonsdown Children Centre

·               Action for Children.

3.             That Cabinet approve the establishment of new posts in the Families First Team to be hosted by Social Services.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure Cabinet is aware of the delivery of Families First in the context of providing early intervention and prevention services to children, young people and families to minimise the need for higher level support and intervention from statutory services.

2.             To gain Cabinet approval for contracts/SLA's to be extended and renewed to support the proposed developments taking account of the changes to existing Cymorth funded services

3.             That Cabinet support the recruitment of staff to deliver the Families First Service.


2.             There is emerging consensus and evidence from programmes like Flying Start that the best way to support families, particularly those families in poverty, is through an integrated, whole family approach.

3.             From April 2012, the Welsh Government Cymorth Grant will be replaced by the Families First fund and in line with this change, the funding criteria have been revised from the provision of open access and universal services under Cymorth to targeted services aimed at tiers 2 and 3. The tiered model of needs and service provision is well recognised and the model for Children and Young People Services in the Vale is attached at Appendix 1.

4.             At the heart of Families First is the recognition that some difficulties that children and young people present are the result of factors affecting other members of the family.  Consequently, the provision of holistic multi agency support that can be tailored to the needs of the individuals and the family will have the most positive impact on effecting change within that family.

5.             In response to the funding changes and revised criteria, the Children and Young People's Partnership (CYPP) established a multi agency Project Management Board consisting of Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board (UHB), Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (VCVS), the CYPP Manager, Education and Social Services, to draft the service model for Families First and to plan the implementation of the service in readiness for April 2012.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.             Viewed in the context of the tiers of need, Families First aims to achieve improvements in the interface between service provision and levels of need to ensure that services work better together and improve outcomes for service users.

7.             It is essential that partner agencies work together to offer the most appropriate support at the earliest opportunity to help minimise the escalation of difficulties and subsequent demand on higher level interventions.  The developments within Families First cannot be seen in isolation.  The Board will be aware that the Cardiff and Vale Consortium bid for Welsh Government funding for Phase II of the Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS) has been successful and both services being developed need to be complementary and add value to existing service provision.

8.             The provision of integrated services at tiers 2 and 3 should reduce the numbers of families requiring higher level, more intensive and very often more costly services from all statutory agencies. The aspiration is to provide a holistic and wrap around service to children, young people and families who do not meet the threshold for statutory services at the point of referral but who can be predicted to meet that threshold if early support is not provided.  Commonly referred to as a Team Around the Family approach, the model is well evidenced and researched across the UK.

9.             The proposed service model for the Families First Team is attached at Appendix 2.

10.        A referral and joint assessment process based on the national Common Assessment Framework is being developed and a flowchart explaining the service pathway is attached at Appendix 3.

11.        All existing Cymorth funded services have been reviewed and those which will remain are in the process of realignment to fit the Families First criteria. It is critical to the success of the project that the services commissioned through Families First are responsive to the needs of the families referred and are able to be flexible enough to meet varying levels of need and demand as determined by the project.

12.        The position regarding projects currently funded is detailed in Appendix 4

Projected Timescales

13.        The proposed service model has been ratified by the CYPP and subject to approval by Cabinet, it is anticipated that recruitment will be completed by January 2012 with a view to the team being fully operational by April 2012.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

14.        The current transition year funding level for the Vale of Glamorgan is £1.26 million of which £1.06 million is currently committed.  Services are being reconfigured to meet the objectives of Families First and it is predicted that approximately £300k will be required to fund the new team.  The CYPP will continue to manage the allocation of available funding most appropriately.  

15.        As stated above, recruitment to the new posts will be completed by January 2012.  The multi agency Management Board has agreed that the posts will be hosted within Children and Young People's Services. As a result the job descriptions and person specifications have been through the Job Evaluation process. Given the nature of the grant funding, the posts will need to be offered on fixed term contracts, and secondment arrangements will be positively encouraged.  This approach has the added benefit of the Management Board being able to evaluate, review and potentially revise the staffing establishment at least annually.

16.        In the longer term, it is hoped that Families First services will achieve cost savings for statutory agencies through the reduction in demand for higher tier specialist services.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

17.        The development of Families First services across the Vale to provide inclusive preventative and early intervention support to children, young people and families meets the legislative requirements including statutes and guidance across the agencies.  Families First funding is supported through the Welsh Government's Children and Families (Wales) Measure.

18.        Specific contracts with voluntary and statutory partners will need to be extended/ renewed/ established to deliver projected outcomes.

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.        There are no direct crime and disorder implications as the result of the development of these services, although the preventative nature of the proposed service is likely to impact positively on children, young people and families directing them into more positive supported outcomes.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20.        There are no equality issues as a result of the development of this service.  Referrals will be accepted for all children, young people and families as deemed appropriate by the referring agency.

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.        To make the Vale a safe, healthy and enjoyable place in which individuals, children and families can live their lives to the full.

Policy Framework and Budget

22.        Families First is a Welsh Government funding initiative supported through the Children and Families (Wales) Measures.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

23.        This is a matter for executive decision by the Cabinet.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.        Social Care and Health, together with Lifelong Learning and Corporate Resources as appropriate.

Background Papers

Appendix 1    Vale of Glamorgan Model of Integrated Children &Young People Services

Appendix 2    Proposed Vale of Glamorgan Families First Service

Appendix 3    Vale Families First referral and assessment process flow chart

Appendix 4    Projects currently funded through the Cymorth/Families First Grant

Contact Officer

Mark Davies

Children and Young People's Partnership Manager

Officers Consulted

Head of Children and Young People Services - Social Services

Head of Additional Learning Needs - Directorate of Learning and Development

Head of Paediatric Therapies/Partnership Manager - Cardiff and Vale UHB

Executive Director - Vale Centre for Voluntary Services

Senior Group Accountant

Children and Young Peoples Partnership

Operational Manager, Legal Services

Responsible Officer:

Bryan Jeffreys

Director of Learning and Development