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Agenda Item No 5

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 10th July 2018


Report of the Director of Social Services


Families First 2017-18 Annual Update


Purpose of the Report

  1. To apprise Scrutiny Committee of progress and activity within the Welsh Government grant allocated to support the delivery of the Families First Plan 2017/18 in the Vale of Glamorgan. 


  1. That the contents of the report be noted.
  2. That the positive work undertaken to support children, young people and families in the Vale of Glamorgan be noted.
  3. That update reports be received by the Committee on an annual basis.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1&2     That Members are kept informed about positive progress made around the development of Families First.

3.        That an update report be presented in 12 months' time.


  1. The Families First Plan was initially developed in 2012 and focussed on a support network of provision and services aligned to a 'team around the family' approach.
  2. Families First funds the co-ordination and support of services, the provision of a dedicated family support service (FACT - Families Achieving Change Together) and a range of bespoke projects that support the long term aims to improve the life chances of children and young people from disadvantaged families.
  3. Eight distinct projects existed under the Families First Plan 2017-18:

FACT - internally commissioned (Social Services);

Disability Focus - internally and externally commissioned;

Partnership for Young Parents - internally commissioned (Social Services);

Putting Families First - internally commissioned (Education);

Youth Support Programme - internally commissioned (Education);

Young Carers - externally commissioned;

C-Card scheme - internally commissioned (Education); 

Central co-ordination - internally commissioned (Education).

  1. The Families First Management Board has also overseen two further pilot projects, the Families First Advice Line (FFAL) and Parenting and Youth Reshaping.  FFAL is managed through FACT and has been particularly successful. Children, young people and/or families are referred through a central formal referral system (584 calls have been received between April 2017- March 2018) to a team who offer advice and signposting and if appropriate undertake assessments. This has proved successful in reducing the overall number of referrals to FACT and improved the appropriate nature of referrals. There has been a decrease of 4.9% (159) accessing the FACT project from 2016/17 in response to the implementation of the FFAL.
  2. The second pilot was informed by planned changes to Families First by Welsh Government.  All Local Authorities were informed early in 2017 that they would need to make additional changes to their Families First programmes, based on emerging priorities that would be made clear within the new Families First Programme Guidance launched in April 2017.  All Local Authorities would also have a transitional year (April 2017- March 2018) in which to make this step change.
  3. The second pilot was designed to facilitate these changes to the new Parenting and Youth services. This involved the secondment of two officers (one for Parenting and one for Youth) to lead on the development of these services; they undertook a staff skills audit, reviewed current activities, brought the respective teams together, reshaped the focus of the team in line with Welsh Government guidance, informed and updated the wider partners of changes, developed new brand/logos, and recruited staff as required. This has proven really worthwhile with the mobilisation phase of these services in place from April 2018 as planned.
  4. The new Families First Programme Guidance reaffirmed the requirement to maintain a 'team around the family' model (FACT in the Vale of Glamorgan) and to maintain services within the criteria for the Disability Focus. It highlighted a step change within its priorities for the commissioned services. The move is away from a range of bespoke services to a clear focus on parent support services and support for young people.
  5. This report reflects activity of Families First Projects during 2017-18.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Welsh Government issue a set proforma for an Annual Progress Report, this requires details about a number of specified areas linked to the Families First Guidance and an update on all projects. The Annual Progress Report gives an overview of some of the main outcomes and achievements during the year (see Appendix 1).
  2. Individual project progress during 2017-18:

FACT - internally commissioned and delivered via Social Services; 68 families completed a Joint Assessment Family Framework (JAFF) and 51 post JAFF closure assessments.  Referrals from Children and Young People Services (where these have not met threshold for statutory intervention or require a 'step down' service), have remained high, and many cases remain open between 8-12 months due to complex needs.  The rate of JAFFs closed with a successful outcome was 94.12%.

  1. Disability Focus - centrally delivered through the Co-ordination team, and consisting of a series of interlinked projects all offering different services to families with disabled children (412 accessed) and young people (123 accessed).

569 families are now registered on the Disability Index, the Index newsletter has become a regional, Cardiff and Vale newsletter, which makes information on services and support for children with disabilities across Cardiff and the Vale more accessible.

70 disabled children have accessed inclusive play opportunities.

Vale 'Youth Speak Up' has provided self-advocacy for 30 learning disabled young people, who have registered for 42 accredited training opportunities. This provides a platform for disabled children and young people to have a voice. 5 of these young people represent Vale Youth Speak Up on local and national forums.

34 disabled young people have undertaken travel training, giving them the key skills and confidence to travel in an independent capacity using public transport. 83% of young people are still travelling independently 6 months after completion the one-to-one travel training.

26 young people undertook 1-1 Independent Living Skills (16 -19 years old) and another 50 undertook this within a group setting. This aim was to support disabled young people to develop skills such as personal care, cooking, budgeting etc. 79.5% of young people stated that their independent living skills improved on completion of the programme.

  1. Partnership for Young Parents - internally commissioned (Social Services); works with young mothers (up to 19 years) and their partners across the Vale of Glamorgan. Since 2013/14 this programme has undergone a huge transition, extending its service from the Barry area to the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan. The programme broadened its services to offer Midwifery, Early years, Support and Education. A specialist young person Midwife supported all 60 pregnant teenagers in Vale of Glamorgan. 46 young mums and pregnant teenagers received 1-1 support and 35 of these receiving early years support, in the form of bumps to birth and other parenting courses, with a further 20 partners being engaged.
  2. Putting Families First - internally commissioned (Education); focus is to remove barriers to engagement for parents through a raft of individual and group activities within 7 targeted schools. 533 families accessed the programme undertaking parenting programmes and accredited courses such as Reading Readiness, Ready for Maths and First Aid. 48 parents completed a Family Links Parent Nurture course (not accredited), 210 parents completed an accredited programme and 83 parents attended the 6 week baby massage class. 95.5% of participants stated they felt more confident in themselves and their abilities following the intervention.  
  3. Youth Support Programme - internally commissioned (Education); The project has two elements to target young people aged 8 to 19, 192 individual pupils completed a personal transition plan to help them manage emotional and behavioural issues occurring during their transitional period from primary to secondary school providing them with coping techniques. 100% of these pupils have identified that they have benefited from the intervention, including improved mental and emotional wellbeing. EMOJIS an intensive support programme, delivered out of school time, targeting young people aged 8 to 14 who have been identified as having emotional and behavioural issues. Of the 28 students who completed 93% gained an accreditation from the programme. 97% of the students who completed stated that they are better able to cope with day to day issues, following the intervention.
  4. Young Carers - externally commissioned; provides a bespoke 1-1 support in the home and respite provision for young carers (aged 7 - 18) to help improve the Young Carers and their families' resilience. 53 Young Carers accessed the project, 18 received one to one support in the home.  94% stated they felt less isolated as a result of accessing the project and that the programme had improved at least one aspect of their life.
  5. C-Card scheme - internally commissioned (Education); the aim of the project is to reduce sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy rates for young people aged 14 to 19.  The project provides access to sexual health support via C Card which allows access to condoms and sexual health information in places and at times convenient to them including during the school holidays.  The Sexual Health Officer (SHO) provided Sexual Health Lessons at 4 comprehensive schools reaching 846 pupils. 100% of pupils stated that the Sexual Relationship Education training was beneficial to them and that now they had a better understanding of relationships.  The SHO also provided 12 identified young people with 1-1 support.
  6. Central co-ordination - internally commissioned (Education).  The Co-ordination Team are responsible for the strategic management of the Families First programme in the Vale of Glamorgan.  They have supported over 300 individual workforce development opportunities, commissioned services, reported on outcomes for Welsh Government, delivered various events including a 'Pupil Well-being' event in November 2017, with a 107 education and support staff attending the event, there were 25 information stands and feedback received was very positive and has led to the establishment of a Wellbeing Forum.
  7. The new Families First guidance (April 2017) changed the focus of the funding to build on the previous requirements.  The Families First Management Board sought stakeholder involvement through an event held in May 2017.  The event highlighted the change in direction of Families First and linked this to the locally developed needs assessment and the Adverse Childhood Experiences Report.  The event allowed stakeholders to shape ideas, suggestions and changes going forward, and a new Families First Plan was submitted to Welsh Government in November 2017.
  8. As a transitional year, all new developments within the plan were to be initiated by April 2018.  Two new teams, Parenting and Youth Wellbeing, have been created, live from April 2018 with a formal launch scheduled for October 2018.
  9. From April 2018 the funding is utilised to deliver the following projects:

Team Around the Family project (FACT) internally commissioned and delivered via Social Services.

Disability Focus - internally and externally commissioned (some on a regional basis).

Young Carers - externally commissioned.

Wellbeing Youth Mentoring Service (this absorbs both the Youth Support Programme and the C-Card projects).  Internally commissioned and delivered via Learning and Skills.

Parent Support Project (this absorbs Putting Families First, the Partnership for Young Parents and to incorporate some element of the Flying Start parenting service).

Families First Advice Line (building on the success of the pilot). Internally commissioned and delivered by FACT (Social Services).

  1. The proposals for the use of Families First funding are in line with the well-being objectives in the Public Services Board's draft Well-being Plan, in particular the well-being objective 'to give children the best start in life'.  The proposals are also consistent with work being undertaken by the Cardiff and Vale Integrated Health and Social Care Board to address the priorities identified by the Population Needs Assessment.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The Council received a grant of £1,355,768 for 2017/18 and 2018/19 and indicative for each year covering the financial years until 2021/22.
  2. A one year extension to the existing Families First Plan for the Vale of Glamorgan covering the period 1st April 2017 - 31st March 2018 was approved by Welsh Government on the basis the Council make significant transitional progress in its delivery model to meet the expectations of the new Families First Guidance April 2017.
  3. Individually contracted Families First projects are required to have their own exit strategies.  All Families First projects are stringently monitored and evaluated so that opportunities to build upon and sustain the initiatives can be identified.
  4. Families First is established and dependant on continued Welsh Government funding.  The exit strategy will be the cessation of individual project/s should funding reduce/cease.  In the longer term it is envisaged by Welsh Government that consideration will be given to mainstreaming successful elements.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. In addition to its contribution towards the Council's Corporate Plan, Families First will evidence work towards the Well-being of Future Generations Act.  The Act outlines seven national well-being goals for Wales, one of these being ' A More Equal Wales', ensuring that we enable all people to fulfil their potential no matter what their background or circumstances.  Through its work with children, young people and/or families the Families First Plan will evidence work towards this goal.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. Contracts/service level agreements are in place with providers delivering Families First projects which set out clear roles, responsibilities and outcomes for the delivery of activities.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The funding would support a range of projects which support families, young people and children, which will have a positive impact on factors influencing crime and disorder.  

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The funding will address the needs of a variety of disadvantaged individuals including carers, disabled children and families. 

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This report supports the Council's Wellbeing Outcome 1: Objective 1: Reducing Poverty and Social Exclusion:

'Align relevant activities associated with Families First, Flying Start, Communities First and Supporting People programmes to maximise opportunities across all programmes'.

Wellbeing Outcome 3: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale, Corporate Objective 5 'Raising overall standards of achievement'.

'Secure improved outcomes for groups of learners at risk of underachievement, such as those entitled to free school meals'.

'Increase the learning opportunities for disadvantaged individuals and vulnerable families'.

'Reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training'.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. This is a matter which affects the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan and so individual Ward Members have not been consulted

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Homes and Safe Communities

Background Papers

Families First Guidance 2017

Vale of Glamorgan Families First Annual Report

Contact Officer

Mark Davies, Prevention and Partnerships Manager

Officers Consulted

Amber Condy, Operational Manager Children and Young Peoples Services

Rachel Evans, Head of Children and Young People Services

David Davies, Head of Achievement for All

Carolyn Michael, Operational Manager Accountancy

Responsible Officer:

Lance Carver, Director of Social Services