Agenda Item No 7


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 10th March, 2014


Report of the Director of Social Services


The Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service Annual Report 2013/14


Purpose of the Report

1.         To ensure that Elected Members have considered the 2013/14 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 2013/14;

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 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 family support initiatives set out in relevant Welsh Government strategies.  By providing intensive and specialist help to families where risks are escalating, the IFSS has a key role to perform in reducing harm to children and the volume of avoidable admissions to Looked After Children the service.

3.         The IFSS programme is intended to provide 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 their area.  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 national 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 was supported by an Operational Steering Group which was responsible for overseeing implementation and development during the first year of operation.  Cardiff Council undertakes direct management of the service.

6.         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

7.         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 2013/14 is attached at Appendix I and it has been approved by the IFSS Management Board.

8.         The annual report summarises:

  • key achievements and outcomes;
  • effective partnership working;
  • challenges faced by the service; and
  • priorities for 2014/15.

9.         The report demonstrates that the IFSS is meeting expectations in terms of numbers of families receiving help and the outcomes achieved.    It 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 wellbeing 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 IFFS 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. 

10.      The main priorities for the year ahead will be to increase the number of referrals and aim towards a target of 100 families and to train the wider workforce in the IFSS model of intervention using Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focussed and other cognitive behavioural techniques.  At a local level, there are plans to strengthen the maintenance phase following the IFST intensive intervention.  In addition, the IFSS Board will continue to plan the structure and pattern of future service delivery and identify funding for the medium to long term.

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)

12.      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)

13.      The IFSS is funded by the Welsh Government and the finances are administered by Cardiff Council.  Funding has been confirmed for 2014/15.  The operational budget for this year is £550,000. Income and expenditure for the year to date continue to show that the service is running within budget.

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.      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 child poverty and to take forward 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.

17.      Under section 57 of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure (2010) Local Authorities must establish integrated family support teams.  The NHS have a duty to participate in the establishment and assist the discharge by a Local Authority of its functions.  In the exercise of those functions, the Local Authority, the Health Board, the Integrated Family Support Team and the Integrated Family Support Board must have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Welsh Ministers.

18.      Section 47 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

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.      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

22.      This is a matter for Executive approval.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.      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)

Scrutiny Meeting 15th April, 2013: The Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Integrated Family Support Service Annual Report 2012/13


Contact Officer

Rachel Evans, Head of Children and Young People Services


Officers Consulted

IFSS Management Board

IFSS Operational Steering Group


Responsible Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services