Nottingham was launched as an Early Intervention City in 2008 and has since achieved a strong national profile in driving Early Intervention forward.
Early Intervention is about breaking the cycle of under-achievement and disadvantage which some children, young people and families in Nottingham face.
This has meant changing the way we work, getting involved as soon as possible to identify potential problems and working together with partner organisations and citizens to empower people to transform their lives.
This investment in prevention and early help will reduce the demand for specialist services, improving services and reducing costs for Nottingham in the longer term.
Nottingham City Council is committed to Early Intervention and this is reflected in major strategies such as the Nottingham Plan and the Children and Young People's Plan. Activity is driven forwards through five key work strands:
Projects: Pilot projects and the testing of existing services have allowed adapting or investigating a range of programmes of support. Evaluation of the projects means that they are either adopted into everyday practice, tested further or closed.
Governance: Strong leadership across the City has supported the programme, and a Workforce Core Training Standard has ensured that a consistent approach has been adopted by the Local Authority and partner organisations. Early Intervention is a key principle when any new services are commissioned.
Learning and evaluation: Clear standards of evaluation and evidence of what works locally and nationally have been established.
Finance: A better way of understanding how early intervention could reduce costs and increase the benefits of services for adults, families and children has developed.
Knowledge Management: Increased information and understanding of how to engage with vulnerable people and which interventions work with different groups has helped Nottingham to develop better pathways of support and increased the impact of interventions.
Several of the early pilot projects have now become part of our everyday work with families and children and are being recognised nationally as exemplary practice. The overall direction of travel in terms of outcomes is positive, although all partners acknowledge that there are many challenges still to overcome.
- A 'whole family-focused' approach remains strong and is now being consolidated through the Priority Families Programme
- The percentage of children achieving at Foundation Stage has continuously improved
- Key Stage 2 and 4 results have improved year on year
- Absence from school has decreased
- The rate of Teenage Conceptions continues on a downward trend
- The percentage of children living in poverty has fallen slightly
- The number of first-time entrants to the Youth Justice System is at a historic low
We are continuing to develop Early Intervention across all services.
For example, where adults are trying to access social care, we have introduced a new way of working which has drastically cut waiting times and ensured that citizens are referred to the most appropriate service as soon as possible. We are also running a project for citizens over 50 to reduce isolation, which is having beneficial outcomes in a wide range of services and projects which encourage and support independent living in vulnerable groups.
The Children's Workforce Strategy and associated training programme are still being rolled out to practitioners and the Family Support Strategy and Family Support Pathway guide the Children's Workforce on when and how to intervene successfully. Early Intervention continues to be a key theme throughout all partnership strategies and is a priority within all of the City Council's Strategic Commissioning Reviews.
- We will work to ensure that early intervention and prevention (or early help) will remain a priority and long term commitment for Nottingham
- We will build on the successes of the first five years and continue to develop ways to improve the lives of our adults, children and families
- We will use learning from other areas and access advice and support from the newly established national Early Intervention Foundation
- We will work with partners and citizens to make a difference in our lives in Nottingham