Early Help Service: Redesign Proposals

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Please watch our Early Help Service: Redesign consultation video



Overview

The Early Help service is an important part of our work to support children and families in West Sussex.


Early Help staff work with children and families who are facing any number of challenging circumstances and help ensure every child has a safe environment in which to thrive.

Traditionally, this service has been delivered at centres across West Sussex.


However, during the pandemic, these centres have been mostly closed and our staff have found new ways of reaching out to families who need our help.


At the same time, demands on the services have been increasing so there is a real need to look more closely at our ways of working to ensure we can maintain our commitment to providing Early Help support as effectively as possible.


Proposals


West Sussex County Council is proposing a series of changes to the Early Help service including to:

• Maintain Early Help services from 11 of our 43 Children & Family centre buildings; at least one centre in each district and borough of West Sussex

• Increase the support and focused response to vulnerable children.

• Ensure families have access to the most appropriate support, including closer working with schools.

• Protect a full-time drop-in service for young people in each district and borough by merging our 12 Find It Out (youth) Centres with our 11 Children and Family Centres.

• Stop providing group work. For example, stay and play groups where parents can engage in play sessions with their children, thus focusing our attention where we know we make the biggest different, going out to support the most vulnerable children and families in the communities.


The proposed changes will deliver savings already identified in the council's financial plan.


We are already in discussions with health and other organisations who operate what are called ‘universal services’ from our Children & Family Centres, such as maternity and parent groups, to consider the impact of the proposals. In some cases, partner organisations might be able to continue to work from the buildings. We will be reviewing partner feedback and any ideas for alternative arrangements of these services as part of our proposed consultation.


Progress


A report was discussed by the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee on 7 January 2021 and you can read the minutes and recommendations.

The Early Help redesign proposal and recommendations were discussed at a Cabinet meeting on 23 February 2021.

It was agreed that a thorough 10-week public consultation should be conducted to look further into the impact and possibilities of these proposals.


Next steps


Changes to the Early Help redesign proposals will be taken to the scrutiny committee meeting on 20 July.

1,948 people (including 301 children and young people) responded to the 10-week public consultation which ran from 8 March to 17 May 2021 and included five online consultation events.

A number of changes are being put forward as part of the proposal. A summary of these changes is:

  • To increase the number of retained centres from 11 to 12
  • To increase the ‘find it out’ offer to young people allowing for daily appointments at a location to suit the young person
  • Early Help will continue to offer some specific group work when there is an identified need
  • Dedicated staffing in Children and Family Centres will be responsible for publicising services so people know how to get the support they need.

The scrutiny committee will review the updated proposals on 20 July 2021 and will make recommendations on the proposals to help Cabinet Members in making their decision. On Tuesday 27 July 2021 Cabinet Members will meet to vote on whether to approve the Early Help service offer. If this is agreed, we anticipate that staff consultation on the proposals will begin in September with the new model being implemented in December.

Full papers can be viewed here.




Accessibility statement


If you require any of this information in an alternative format, then please contact us via email at haveyoursay@westsussex.gov.uk or by telephone on 01243 777 100 and we will do our best to assist you. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and have an NGT texting app installed on your computer, laptop or smartphone, you can contact us on 18001 01243 777 100.


We are committed to making this website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. Please view the West Sussex County Council Accessibility Statement, for further details. Information about the accessibility of the Your Voice Engagement Hub can be found by clicking on the 'Accessibility tab' which can be found at the bottom of this page. Where it exists, we will provide details of any project related content which is not fully accessible under a heading of 'Non-accessible content' below.


We are always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please contact us at haveyoursay@westsussex.gov.uk



Please watch our Early Help Service: Redesign consultation video



Overview

The Early Help service is an important part of our work to support children and families in West Sussex.


Early Help staff work with children and families who are facing any number of challenging circumstances and help ensure every child has a safe environment in which to thrive.

Traditionally, this service has been delivered at centres across West Sussex.


However, during the pandemic, these centres have been mostly closed and our staff have found new ways of reaching out to families who need our help.


At the same time, demands on the services have been increasing so there is a real need to look more closely at our ways of working to ensure we can maintain our commitment to providing Early Help support as effectively as possible.


Proposals


West Sussex County Council is proposing a series of changes to the Early Help service including to:

• Maintain Early Help services from 11 of our 43 Children & Family centre buildings; at least one centre in each district and borough of West Sussex

• Increase the support and focused response to vulnerable children.

• Ensure families have access to the most appropriate support, including closer working with schools.

• Protect a full-time drop-in service for young people in each district and borough by merging our 12 Find It Out (youth) Centres with our 11 Children and Family Centres.

• Stop providing group work. For example, stay and play groups where parents can engage in play sessions with their children, thus focusing our attention where we know we make the biggest different, going out to support the most vulnerable children and families in the communities.


The proposed changes will deliver savings already identified in the council's financial plan.


We are already in discussions with health and other organisations who operate what are called ‘universal services’ from our Children & Family Centres, such as maternity and parent groups, to consider the impact of the proposals. In some cases, partner organisations might be able to continue to work from the buildings. We will be reviewing partner feedback and any ideas for alternative arrangements of these services as part of our proposed consultation.


Progress


A report was discussed by the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee on 7 January 2021 and you can read the minutes and recommendations.

The Early Help redesign proposal and recommendations were discussed at a Cabinet meeting on 23 February 2021.

It was agreed that a thorough 10-week public consultation should be conducted to look further into the impact and possibilities of these proposals.


Next steps


Changes to the Early Help redesign proposals will be taken to the scrutiny committee meeting on 20 July.

1,948 people (including 301 children and young people) responded to the 10-week public consultation which ran from 8 March to 17 May 2021 and included five online consultation events.

A number of changes are being put forward as part of the proposal. A summary of these changes is:

  • To increase the number of retained centres from 11 to 12
  • To increase the ‘find it out’ offer to young people allowing for daily appointments at a location to suit the young person
  • Early Help will continue to offer some specific group work when there is an identified need
  • Dedicated staffing in Children and Family Centres will be responsible for publicising services so people know how to get the support they need.

The scrutiny committee will review the updated proposals on 20 July 2021 and will make recommendations on the proposals to help Cabinet Members in making their decision. On Tuesday 27 July 2021 Cabinet Members will meet to vote on whether to approve the Early Help service offer. If this is agreed, we anticipate that staff consultation on the proposals will begin in September with the new model being implemented in December.

Full papers can be viewed here.




Accessibility statement


If you require any of this information in an alternative format, then please contact us via email at haveyoursay@westsussex.gov.uk or by telephone on 01243 777 100 and we will do our best to assist you. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and have an NGT texting app installed on your computer, laptop or smartphone, you can contact us on 18001 01243 777 100.


We are committed to making this website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. Please view the West Sussex County Council Accessibility Statement, for further details. Information about the accessibility of the Your Voice Engagement Hub can be found by clicking on the 'Accessibility tab' which can be found at the bottom of this page. Where it exists, we will provide details of any project related content which is not fully accessible under a heading of 'Non-accessible content' below.


We are always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please contact us at haveyoursay@westsussex.gov.uk


  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Data Privacy Notice

    The Early Help Service will use this survey to collect some personal data to comply with a statutory duty to consult on the Early Help Redesign proposals. This data will be processed in accordance with the 2018 Data Protection Act, the General Data Protection Regulations and any subsequent relevant data and will only be used for the purpose stated. The data we collect will be held securely on computer for a period of up to eighteen months before being appropriately destroyed. West Sussex County Council is registered as Data Controller (Reg. No. Z6413427). For further details and information about our Data Controller, please see the West Sussex County Council Privacy Policy.  

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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Hearing from children

    We would like to hear what children and young people think about the Early Help service redesign proposals.

    Please watch the videos provided below as they will explain how children and young people can get involved and have their say.


    Young people aged 13 plus video:  How to get involved


    Young children's video:  How to involve your child (or children) in this consultation


    You can download the 'Children's Pack'  or the Young People's participation pack here or under the documents section of this Early Help Redesign consultation project page.

    If you the parent/carer of a child who wants to take part, please use the section below and follow the instructions provided to return your child's completed pictures and comments to us.  

    If you are a young person aged 13 plus, then please complete the online survey or follow the instructions provided below to share your thoughts using the participation pack. 

    Online safety

    Please make sure that and drawings or comments do not contain personal names.  If drawings do contain personal names, please cover these over before you submit them so they cannot be seen.  This will help ensure your personal information is protected. 

    We look forward to hearing from our West Sussex families, children and young people.

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