Families First Co Durham

Easington Families First Team - Go Live **Current**
Hi all – I would be grateful if you could circulate widely amongst your distribution networks.
I am very pleased to let you know that the newly created Easington Families First Team is now fully operational and as a result we are now in a position to change the Families First boundaries within the East of the County. This newly created team is a significant development towards our aim of reducing caseloads of frontline practitioners. There are no plans to transfer existing cases from the neighbouring Peterlee or Seaham Families First teams as we want to minimise disruption for families. Any new safeguarding referrals need to go to the First Contact team as normal, and if they fall within the newly agreed Easington boundaries they will be progressed to the Easington Families First Team. The team will cover the following wards:
·        Blackhalls Ward
·        Horden North Ward
·        Horden South Ward
·        Easington Village and South Hetton Ward
·        Haswell and Shotton Ward
The team are based on the 3rd Floor of the Seaham Contact Centre and I have attached an updated contact list which includes the new team. Please circulate this email widely amongst your organisations and feel free to contact myself or Stuart Williams if you have any queries.
Many thanks
Chris Ring
Operations Manager, Families First - East
03000 261265

Durham: innovation in children’s services **Current**

Durham County Council, funded by the Children’s Social Care Innovation Fund, has further developed and cemented relationships with the voluntary and community sector in County Durham to support sustainable change for families. Intensive support and progress has been sustained for families, reducing the risk of referral.

What Happened
Durham County Council were successful in securing £3.26 million from the Social care Innovation Fund to deliver a large scale new approach to social work and work with families. The approach is building on learning from past initiatives in Durham and elsewhere. The Project is underpinned by significant workforce development, developing new skills and attitudes to change the culture of working.

The main innovative elements of the project are:
·      Creation and development of a clear alliance, with the voluntary and community sector in all areas of County Durham, building community capacity supporting ongoing and sustainable change for families
·      Creation of 10 integrated, co-located, teams providing a mix of social workers and other specialist practitioners with expertise in tackling factors such as substance misuse, neglect, and domestic abuse, which place children and their families at risk of adverse outcomes
·      Creation of 10 geographical locality teams, working with defined communities, focussing on early help and significantly increasing the range, access, quality and effectiveness of services for the whole family
·      Intensive workforce development and an enhanced approach to service user engagement, fostering the relationship between service users and professionals, with a clear emphasis on the voice and needs of the child and whole family
The alliance with the voluntary and community sector is based on a long history of engagement and an established relationship [need to expand on Durham Voice/Consortium arrangements here]. This project integrates services provided by the statutory sector and voluntary and community sector in the following ways:
·      Development of an official agreement for a VCS alliance in the shape of a memorandum of understanding, facilitating fundamental changes in the relationship between statutory services and voluntary and community partners
·      Employment of [3?] VCS Alliance Coordinators to facilitate engagement between the VCS and Lead Professionals at Durham County Council
·      The mapping and creation of a database of voluntary and community sector organisations and their services to enhance understanding amongst professionals and link individuals and families to the right support

Work to date has delivered a reduction in Looked After Children of 8% and a cost reduction of £2.5 million against national and regional trends. This current investment is required in order to take the next steps to accelerate progress in Durham.

It is anticipated that the project will deliver improved services and outcomes for the whole population of County Durham by the end of 2016, with a further 12% reduction in Looked After Children, a reduction in re-referrals to children’s social care services and a reduction on child protection plans as a result of neglect.
The project will complete in 2016. To date, key impacts have already been acknowledged within service teams at the County Council, voluntary and community sector organisations involved in the Alliance, and families.