Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting: 13th December, 2011


Report of the Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health


Progress Report in respect of the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS)


Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide Cabinet with information about the progress made in developing the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS).


1.             That Cabinet notes the content of this report.

2.             That Cabinet authorises the Director of Finance, ICT & Property, in consultation with the Leader, to negotiate terms and conditions for accommodating the Integrated Family Support Team in The Alps on a short-term basis.

3.             That Cabinet authorises the Director of Legal Public Protection and Housing to draft, complete and execute all necessary documentation required to facilitate occupation of the Council's Alps offices by partner organisations.

4.             That Cabinet refers the report to the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee for Social Care and Health.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. 2. & 3.         To ensure that the Council's statutory functions in relation to the provision of

                      an Integrated Family Support Service are fully met in accordance with the

                      Welsh Government guidance.


4.         To ensure that the Scrutiny Committee is able to exercise effective oversight of the

           way in which the Council is meeting new statutory obligations.



2.             Through the Children and Young People's Partnership, the Council has adopted a pioneering approach to meeting the need for a coherent framework when delivering the preventive, protective and remedial initiatives set out in the Welsh Government's Child Poverty Strategy (i.e. the Flying Start, Families First and Integrated Family Support Service programmes).

3.             In July 2011, a consortium involving the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Councils and the Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board made a successful bid to the Welsh Government to become one of the two areas in Wales chosen to implement an Integrated Family Support Service under Phase II of the programme.  On 7th September, Cabinet authorised the acceptance of the IFSS revenue grant 2011 and asked for a further report:

·               detailing the composition of the IFSS Board;

·               describing how IFSS will be delivered, including the composition of the IFS core team; and

·               explaining how the service would be sustained beyond March 2012.

4.             The roll-out of IFSS is a key priority for the Welsh Government and builds upon the commitment to ensure greater collaboration and integration of services contained in Sustainable Social Services for Wales: Framework for Action, the policy document setting out plans to renew social services and social care for the next decade. The programme is intended to break down boundaries between local government and health, between adult services and children's services, to provide better support to the family as a unit. For the partners, the successful bid represents an exciting opportunity to take a lead role in strengthening the services to support some of our most disadvantaged children and families, those who are in need or at risk because of parental substance misuse. The Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services has written to the Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health to emphasise the importance of implementing IFSS, including the statutory requirement for local reporting and scrutiny by the Council.

5.             The overall IFSS programme will be underpinned by legislation.  It involves providing a properly integrated service, to be delivered by a mix of highly skilled professionals from social care and health acting as a single workforce. The grant of £0.55m is for full year cost, with an in-year adjustment to reflect the start date.  In addition to the grant, as a new pioneer area, the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff joint service will benefit from central resource support, including the services of consultant trainers. Initially, the IFSS will take referrals for alcohol or drug dependent parents (or prospective parents) of children at risk or children in need.  The aim is to extend the service to families with complex needs resulting from parental mental health problems or mental illness, learning disabilities and domestic violence.  The pioneer sites will test whether the model of providing evidence-based interventions improves outcomes for children in need and their families as well as the relationships between children, parents, their social workers and other professionals.

6.             From 1st September 2010, IFSS pioneer areas have operated within a new statutory framework.  Under the Children and Families (Wales) Measure (2010), local authorities and the NHS have a joint statutory responsibility for ensuring the delivery of the Integrated Family Support Service.  A duty has been placed on local authorities to establish one or more Integrated Family Support Teams (IFSTs) to provide services to adults where there is a benefit to a child who is in need.  Duties are placed on the responsible Health Board to assist the local authority in establishing an IFST so that a local authority can discharge its duties.  There is provision for collaborative working across local authority boundaries.  

7.             The relevant Guidance and Regulations are issued under Part 3 of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 in respect of Pioneer Areas discharging their duties in establishing an Integrated Family Support Team (IFST), an Integrated Family Support Service Board and the provision of ‘Family Support Functions’.  Section 52 requires an annual report on the effectiveness of an IFST signed by the Chief Executive of the local authority and the LHB.  The report must be included in the Annual Report of the Director of Social Services to the Council.  Under Section 58, the overall enterprise must be underpinned by a formal collaborative agreement between the statutory partners.

Relevant Issues and Options

8.             In accordance with the detailed regulations, the three organisations have established an IFSS Management Board with senior officer representation, to oversee implementation and to ensure the efficient operation of the service.  It is chaired currently by the Director of Social Services for the Vale of Glamorgan.  Membership of the Board is attached at Annex A.  A formal programme management approach has been adopted, with responsibility allocated to a senior officer from Cardiff Children's Services.  The Board has agreed the implementation plan submitted to the Welsh Government. 

9.             The Integrated Family Support Team itself will comprise a Service Manager, two Consultant Social Workers and six Intervention Specialists (social work and health practitioners), as outlined in Annex B.  The team will be line managed by Cardiff Council on fixed term contracts until the end of March 2013.  Recruitment is well advanced and the partners have given a commitment to the Welsh Government that the team will be operational in February 2011.  Each team member will undertake intensive training in the various techniques of engaging complex families and delivering evidence - based interventions.  The IFST will also act as a resource for other staff, delivering programmes of inter-agency training for practitioners in the wider service.  The Care Council for Wales in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru is developing a career pathway for social workers which will be piloted within the IFSS Pioneer Areas. 

10.        The Integrated Family Support Team will offer five principal functions:

·               provide advice and consultancy to practitioners and agencies on engaging complex families with parental substance misuse;

·               undertake intensive direct work with families through the application of time limited family focused interventions;

·               work jointly with the case managers and others to access the services which the family needs;

·               spot-purchase services not otherwise available; and

·               provide training on Evidence Based Interventions for the wider workforce.

11.        The core functions of the IFSS Board and the IFST are set out in Annex C.  Responsibility for child protection matters and case management is retained by the child's allocated social worker, who will work with the IFST in supporting the child and family.  In addition to the statutory responsibilities, local authorities, the NHS and their partners will need to consider:

·               the family as a unit when treating either an adult or a child; and

·               the possible benefit of access to an IFST, where there is a parental issue of a prescribed kind alongside a child welfare concern.


Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

12.        As stated, the Welsh Government has made available up to £0.55 million in each full financial year to the Vale and Cardiff consortium, with an in-year adjustment to reflect the start dates. Funding has been confirmed for 2011-12 and 2012-13.  Cardiff Council is the lead authority and budget holder within the IFSS partnership. None of the costs involved in establishing or running the IFST as described in this report will fall to the Vale of Glamorgan.  However, there is an expectation that families who receive the service will be afforded additional priority in the allocation of other services by the partner organisations, where this is necessary to bring about the required changes in parenting capacity and family circumstances.

13.        From experience of delivering family support services across both areas, the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff partnership has identified the need for IFST staff to work closely with case management teams in Social Services and to have a visible presence in both local authority areas.  The IFSS should not be seen as a stand-alone service but viewed as part of the continuum of family support services available. Most direct work with families will be undertaken by the IFST within the family home and it is not a requirement, therefore, that the office base is accessible to service users.  However, it is important that the IFST base can be used as a point of access for other professionals and so the chosen location should be accessible to the Vale of Glamorgan and to Cardiff.  In identifying suitable locations, the partnership also deems it important that there is some joint ownership of buildings or a sharing of facilities already in place across health and social care agencies. For this reason, the partners are keen to identify long-term options that represent a clear commitment to partnership working between Children's Services, Adult Services and the NHS.  However, on a short-term basis, it is proposed that the IFST is located in the Vale of Glamorgan at The Alps.  Terms and conditions relating to the occupation of the Council's offices will be agreed with the partner organisations, to ensure all rental/rates/electricity charges and other outgoings are accounted for in the legal agreement.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.        This report relates to the implementation of statutory guidance.  Under the Children and Families (Wales) Measure (2010), local authorities and the NHS have a joint statutory responsibility for ensuring the delivery of the Integrated Family Support Service.  The relevant Guidance and Regulations are issued under Part 3 of the Measure.  The guidance is primarily addressed to local authorities, Local Health Boards and their staff in Wales who work with children and families where parental substance misuse may deem their child/ren to be in need or at risk. The guidance is issued under:

·               Section 65 of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010; and

·               Section 7 of Local Authority Social Services Act 1970.

15.        Local authorities, LHBs and their partners within Pioneer Areas must have regard to this guidance when establishing an Integrated Family Support Team, Family Support Board and providing ‘family support functions’ as defined within the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 and associated Regulations.

16.        It will be necessary for the Council to enter into legal agreements relating to the occupation of the Council's office accommodation at the Alps by partner organisations.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.        There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.        There are no equal opportunities implications as a direct result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.        The following corporate objectives will be promoted through the provision of an Integrated Family Support Service.

·               To safeguard and protect children, young people and vulnerable adults.

·               To improve the ‘life chance’ opportunities for children and young people in need.

·               To provide a range of family support services to enable children and young people to reach their full potential and make a successful transition into adulthood.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.        This is a matter for Executive approval.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.        The service will be provided across the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan.  The relevant Ward member has been consulted about the proposed use of the offices at the Alps and he has expressed support.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.        Social Care and Health.

Background Papers

Cabinet Meeting on 7th September, 2011 - External Funding Applications


Contact Officer

Colette Limbrick, Operational Manager, Children and Young People Services


Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team


Responsible Officer:

Philip J. Evans, Director of Social Services