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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 6th November 2018

Report of the Director of Social Services

The Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service Annual Report 2017/2018

Purpose of the Report

  1. To ensure that Elected Members have considered the 2017/18 Annual Report for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS) before it is submitted to the Welsh Government as required.


That Committee:

  1. Notes the content of the Integrated Family Support Service Annual Report for 2017/18.
  2. Endorses the work being undertaken to provide intensive support to families, especially those where children are adversely affected by parental alcohol or drug dependence.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1&2     To ensure that the Council's statutory functions in relation to providing an IFSS are fully met in accordance with Welsh Government guidance.


  1. Through the provision of its Flying Start, Families First and IFSS programmes, this Council has in place a coherent framework for delivering the range of preventive, protective and remedial family support initiatives set out in relevant Welsh Government strategies.  By providing intensive and specialist help to families when risks are escalating, the IFSS has a key role to perform both in reducing harm to children, and the volume of avoidable admissions to the Children Looked After service.
  2. The IFSS programme is intended to provide holistic support to families by breaking down boundaries between local government and health, and between adult services and children's services.  It is delivered by a combination of highly skilled professionals from social care and health, acting as a single workforce.
  3. Under the Children and Families (Wales) Measure (2010), Local Authorities and the NHS have a joint statutory responsibility for ensuring delivery of an IFSS in their region.  In July 2011, a consortium involving the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cardiff Council, and the Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board made a successful bid to the Welsh Government to become one of two regions in Wales chosen to implement an IFSS under Phase II of the national programme.
  4. In accordance with the very detailed regulations which prescribe the way in which an IFSS must operate, the three organisations established a Management Board.  The Management Board was supported by an Operational Steering Group which was responsible for overseeing implementation and development during the first year of operation.  In order to resolve any operational issues and to provide closer monitoring of the Service, an Operational Group was reinstated in 2016/17.  Cardiff Council undertakes direct management of the Service.
  5. The IFSS is based at the Alps and it has been operational since the end of February 2012.  The service has five principal functions:
  • undertaking intensive direct work with families through the application of time-limited, family focused interventions;
  • providing advice and consultancy to practitioners and agencies on engaging complex families with parental substance misuse;
  • working jointly with the case managers and others to ensure that the family can gain access to the services they need;
  • spot-purchasing services not otherwise available; and
  • providing training on evidence-based interventions for the wider workforce.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Section 64 of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 requires an annual report on the effectiveness of the IFSS to be submitted to Welsh Government.  The report for 2017/2018 is attached at Appendix I.  The annual report summarises:
  • key achievements and outcomes;
  • summary of the past six years;
  • effective partnership working;
  • challenges faced by the service; and
  • priorities for 2018/2019.
  1. The report outlines the robust system of data collection and analysis in place to demonstrate how families are referred and prioritised for support and the impact upon key areas of well-being such as education, parenting, relationships, alcohol or drug cessation.  This is complemented by qualitative evaluation through service user and referrer feedback.  The results demonstrate that the IFSS is taking a lead role in strengthening services to support some of our most disadvantaged children, those who are in need or at risk because of parental alcohol or drug dependence.  The report demonstrates that the IFSS is meeting expectations in terms of numbers of referrals and the outcomes for the interventions achieved. 
  2. The IFSS aimed to receive 120 referrals during the year and planned to work with 100 families.  The annual figures demonstrate that they received 110 referrals, just short of the target and worked with 62 families (138 children); 34 in Cardiff and 28 in the Vale of Glamorgan.  This is a slight decrease compared to the previous year where IFSS worked with 31 families in the Vale of Glamorgan (45% of the total number of families worked with), however it is noted in paragraph 3.2 of the report that a contributing factor was a temporary vacancy within the team.
  3. The continued high level of overall referrals, reflects the work undertaken by Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan officers in partnership with the IFSS Manager to ensure the capacity of the Service is maximised and children and families in both Local Authority areas are benefitting from this Service.
  4. The main priorities for the year ahead will be one of consolidation and improvement in 2018/19  To continue to increase the number of referrals received and increase the number of referrals worked with by Intervention Specialists; Working in partnership with Cardiff and Vale Social Care Training to ensure that the IFSS models are embedded within the workforce training calendar; and further improve inter-agency and partnership working to further integrate services across Social Care and Health, Adult and Children and Young People Services and Third Sector agencies.
  5. The Operational Group will continue to plan the structure and pattern of future service delivery and identify funding for the medium to long term.
  6. The Welsh Government's ten-year strategy for Social Services includes a commitment to a career pathway and ongoing qualification requirements for Social Workers, thereby enhancing professionalism and promoting high quality services.  The national career pathway is intended to retain more Social Workers in practice roles and it consists of four levels:
  • Newly Qualified Social Worker (Years 1 & 2)
  • Social Worker (Year 3 plus)
  • Senior Social Worker Practitioner (3 Years Post Qualified)
  • Consultant Social Worker (5 Years Post Qualified).
  1. The Consultant Social Worker role within the IFSS is demonstrating that specialist and evidence-based social work intervention (as part of planned, systematic multi-agency involvement in the lives of families) can have considerable impact and deliver better outcomes.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The IFSS is funded by the Welsh Government and the finances are administered by Cardiff Council.  Funding from 2015/2016 was transferred to the Revenue Support Grant and allocated equally between the two Local Authorities; £280,000 for Cardiff and £280,000 for the Vale of Glamorgan.  Cardiff will continue to administer the joint service and recharge the Vale of Glamorgan.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability or climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Children and Families (Wales) Measure (2010) makes statutory provision, through a legislative framework, to take forward the Welsh Government's commitment in terms of reducing child poverty and early development of its strategy for vulnerable children.  It is designed to provide greater support to families where children may be at risk and strengthen regulatory enforcement in children's settings.
  2. Under Section 57 of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure (2010), Local Authorities must establish integrated family support teams.  The NHS has a duty to participate and to assist the discharge by a Local Authority of its functions.  In the exercise of those functions, the Local Authority, the Health Board, the IFSS and the IFSS Board must have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Welsh Ministers.
  3. Section 64 of the Regulation requires an annual report on the effectiveness of an IFSS to be submitted to the Welsh Government, the Local Authority and Health Board.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The following corporate objectives are promoted through the continued provision of an IFSS:
  • 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

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The service is provided across the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan. 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Healthy Living and Social Care

Background Papers

The Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service Annual Report 2017/18

Contact Officer

Rachel Evans, Head of Children and Young People Services

Officers Consulted

IFSS Operational Group

Responsible Officer

Lance Carver, Director of Social Services