Agenda Item No 8


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 15th April, 2013


Report of the Director of Social Services


The Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service Annual Report 2012/13


Purpose of the Report

1.             To ensure that Elected Members are aware of the 2012/13 Annual Report for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS), which is to be submitted to the Welsh Government as required.


That Committee:


1.             Notes the content of the Integrated Family Support Service annual report for 2012/13, attached at Appendix 1; and

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.

Reason for the Recommendations

1 & 2.  To ensure that the Council's statutory functions in relation to providing an Integrated

           Family Support Service are fully met, in accordance with Welsh Government

           statutory guidance.



2.             Through provision of its Flying Start, Families First and IFSS programmes, this Council has in place a coherent framework for delivering the preventive, protective and remedial initiatives set out in relevant Welsh Government strategies.  The IFSS 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.

3.             The IFSS programme is intended to provide better, more holistic support to families by breaking down boundaries between local government and health, 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.  

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.  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 IFSS under Phase II of the programme. 

5.             In accordance with the very detailed regulations which prescribe the way in which an IFSS must operate, the three organisations established a Management Board chaired by the Director of Social Services for the Vale of Glamorgan.  The Management Board is supported by an Operational Steering Group which has been responsible for overseeing implementation and development.  Cardiff Council undertakes direct management of the service.

6.             The IFSS is based at the Alps and 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.

7.             The roll-out of IFSS continues to be 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 

Relevant Issues and Options

8.             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 2012/13 is attached at Appendix 1 and has been approved by the IFSS Management Board.

9.             The annual report summarises:

  • key achievements and outcomes;
  • effective partnership working;
  • challenges faced by the service; and
  • priorities for 2013/14.

10.        The report demonstrates that the IFSS is meeting expectations and 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.

11.        The Welsh Government's ten-year strategy for social services includes a commitment to a career pathway and on-going 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)

The Consultant Social Worker role within the Integrated Family Support Service is already showing 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)

12.        The IFSS is funded by the Welsh Government and the finances are administered by Cardiff Council.  Funding has been confirmed for 2013/14 and beyond. 

13.        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 current specific grant into the Revenue Support Grant. 

14.        None of the costs involved in running the IFSS described in the annual 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

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

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.        This report relates to the implementation of statutory guidance.  Under Section 57 of 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.

17.        As stated previously, Section 64 of the Regulations requires an annual report on the effectiveness of an IFSS to be submitted to Welsh Government.

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 13th December, 2011: Progress Report in respect of the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS)


Contact Officer

Gareth Jenkins, Head of Children and Young People Services


Officers Consulted

IFSS Management Board

IFSS Operational Steering Group


Responsible Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services