A wide range of partners have been engaged since October 2015 in developing proposals for Local Area Teams. A summary of feedback received and how this has influenced the new model is shown below. A separate summary shows feedback and changes made as a result of formal consultation with staff in scope.

You said...

We propose...

That we aren’t getting best value and use from our children’s centre buildings.

We have carried out a consultation with families and practitioners where we set out proposals on changes to how we operate. In relation to buildings we proposed that we would look to work with partners such as schools to look at all aspects of how buildings are used. This includes if all buildings should continue to be designated as children’s centres, who is best placed to operate buildings, what communities would value most from that space and how delivery could reflect on that need.

The public consultation showed that 79% of respondents ‘Strongly agreed’ or ‘Agreed’ with this proposal.

We will now look to progress the review of each children’s centre site and take up conversations with schools and any other relevant partners on future potential use.

Issues arise when families have needs of a complexity that can’t be met by capacity or skills within lead practitioners.

The resources don’t exist to create teams of people who would take on all early help cases. So Local Area Teams will create new roles to provide escalating levels of support to partners, lead practitioners and families.

Schools said they particularly valued skilled workers coming alongside lead practitioners to offer higher levels of input into complex cases. A new role of Local Area Support Practitioner will be created to provide this meaningful support. In cases with higher levels of need the Practitioner will do more. This support will include drawing together partners and brokering support from others, offer support with undertaking and coordinating assessments and potential direct work with children, young people and families.

Local Area Support Practitioners will be regularly seen by schools and in the community and work to develop solutions in response to need. Each school cluster will have a dedicated Local Area Support Practitioner much in the same way as the Well-Being Workers operate.

Key services have long waiting lists.

This will not be an easy one to fix but there are two ways in which Local Area Teams will work to tackle this.

  • Better commissioning – We are proposing to draw together into a single fund all children and young people’s commissioning funding held by the Local Authority.
    • Where partners and communities identify common city wide issues (school readiness, speech and language development, mental health, domestic abuse etc) Local Area Teams will work together with other commissioners to commission at a city wide level.
    • Where challenges are particular to an area, Local Area Teams will work with partners to carry out localised and agile commissioning to address need.
  • A special ‘waiting list’ task group will target key pressure points with the sole focus of finding innovative solutions to improve timely and appropriate access to services.
  • More proportionate levels of support – We will work to build capacity to give proportionate responses at different levels of need. This means taking a whole system approach to addressing capacity. In doing so we will look to:
    • Build capacity in families and communities to be more resilient.
    • Workforce development throughout key partners to up-skill knowledge of frontline practitioners.
    • Work with, support and challenge partners across the city to make support services more responsive to need.

Schools want to be part of the solution

We want schools to be part of the solution. Local Area Teams will bring together all partners working with families in local areas. This is about bringing services closer to families and really understanding the needs of different areas. We are proposing that:

  • Schools are a key driver in the development of Local Area Outcomes Plans which identify and respond to the needs of families.
  • The Local Area Support Practitioners will work on a very practical level with schools to meet families’ needs.
  • Community and Partnership Officers will work with key community partners including schools to build capacity in the local area. This will include supporting schools and partners to apply for funding or grants which could open up new and innovative ways of working.
  • That schools can shape commissioning that happens at a local level in response to need as well as at a city wide level.
  • A Volunteer Lead can help new volunteer programmes such as parent mentoring to become established.

Services too often work in isolation.

The Local Area Team responds strongly to this by bringing together all relevant partners in a local area. The Local Area Teams can help to bring together all partners including schools, health, police, housing, Jobcentre Plus, the voluntary and community sector and more.

A key role of the Local Area Team is to support and challenge these services to work together, improve joint working and relentlessly tackle inefficiencies.

Information sharing needs to be improved.

We can see that sometimes there is confusion or cautiousness about sharing information at an early help level. Local Area Teams will introduce partnership based approaches to information sharing and consent. This will give all practitioners a clear understanding and solid foundation from which to operate and improve information sharing.

We need to maintain a holistic, non-stigmatising city centre offer.

It has been decided that a new city centre offer to young people will be created at Sycamore House. Key features of the new model will be:

  • Maintain a universal drop in information/signposting offer.
  • Provide a base for appointments and group work with young people.
  • Provide space for a complementary voluntary and community sector partnership to be permanently based at Sycamore House.
  • Seek to find a community partner to deliver the counselling offer to young people up to 25 years old.
  • A joint venture between adults and children’s parts of the council.


PLEASE NOTE - Local Area Teams are currently in development. If you have a concern about a child or young person please follow the existing process.