Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting: 3rd December 2012


Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services


Section 58 Agreement in respect of the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS)


Purpose of the Report

1.         To obtain Cabinet endorsement of the proposed Section 58 agreement in respect of the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS).


1.         That the Managing Director is given delegated authority to sign the Section 58 agreement.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that the Council's statutory functions in relation to providing an Integrated Family Support Service are fully met, in accordance with the Welsh Government guidance.


2.         Through the Children and Young People's Partnership, the Council has provided a coherent framework for 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 IFFS programmes).

3.         The IFFS 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. It is delivered by a mix of highly skilled professionals from social care and health acting as a single workforce. The roll-out of IFSS is a key priority for the Welsh Government.  It 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 

4.         Under the Children and Families (Wales) Measure (2010), local authorities and the NHS have a joint statutory responsibility for ensuring delivery of an IFSS.  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 and a statutory requirement for local reporting and scrutiny by the Council.  

5.         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 two areas in Wales chosen to implement an Integrated Family Support Service under Phase II of the programme.  On 7th September, Cabinet authorised acceptance of the IFSS revenue grant for 2011/12. On 14th December, Cabinet received a progress report.

6.         Currently based in the Alps, the Integrated Family Support Team comprises a Service Manager, two Consultant Social Workers and six Intervention Specialists (social work and health practitioners).  It has been operational since February 2012. The team is line managed by Cardiff Council on fixed term contracts until the end of March 2013.  Now that long-term funding is in place, recruitment to permanent posts will begin.

7.         The Team 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 access the services which the family needs;

·               spot-purchasing services not otherwise available; and

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

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.  The Board agreed the implementation plan submitted to the Welsh Government.   It now meets on a quarterly basis to consider monitoring reports and issues in need of resolution. 

9.         The latest monitoring report for Quarter 2 has been submitted to Welsh Government.  It demonstrates that the IFSS is meeting expectations and taking a lead role in strengthening services to support some of our most disadvantaged children and families - those who are in need or at risk because of parental alcohol or drug dependence.  The aim is to extend the service over time to families with complex needs resulting from parental mental health problems or mental illness, learning disabilities and domestic violence.  The service has a key role to perform in helping to reduce the volume of avoidable admissions to the Looked After Children service by providing help to families where risks are escalating.

Relevant Issues and Options

10.      Under Section 58 (1) of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010, the overall enterprise must be underpinned by a formal collaborative agreement between the statutory partners (i.e. the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cardiff Council and the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board).  This agreement should describe the range of services that the parties agree to be included within the 'Family Support Function' that will be provided either directly by the IFST or services supporting the IFST.  The agreement should record resources, objectives and also describe the working arrangements and management systems for the effective operation of the IFST. The Welsh Government grant for provision of the service is conditional upon this Agreement being in place.

11.      On 5 October 2012, the final draft of the agreement was endorsed by the IFSS Board: it is attached at Appendix 1. The Chief Executives for Cardiff Council and the Cardiff & Vale UHB have signed the document.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      The funding formula has been applied on a regional footprint basis and amounts to £550,000 for the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan consortium.  The grant is currently administered by Cardiff Council.  Funding has been confirmed for 2012/13 and beyond.  During 2013/14, North Wales and Gwent will become IFSS areas.  Following implementation of this phase, statutory partners will need to plan for the transfer of the specific grant to the Revenue Support Grant.  None of the costs involved in running the IFSS described in this report 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.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

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

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

16.      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.

17.      This Council has entered into a legal agreement relating to the occupation of the Council's office accommodation at the Alps by a partner organisation.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

20.      The following corporate objectives will be promoted through the continued 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

21.      This is a matter for Executive approval.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

23.      Social Care and Health

Background Papers

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

Cabinet Meeting on 13th December, 2011 - Progress report on the IFSS


Contact Officer

Colette Limbrick, Operational Manager, Children and Young People Services


Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team


Responsible Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services