Shropshire Council

New Early Help delivery model

  • Period: 24 January 2018 - 06 March 2018
  • Status: Closed
  • Audiences: Parents/carers, Professionals, Carers, Everyone
  • Topics: Children's services, Community and living, Big Conversation, Health and wellbeing
  • Type: Public


The consultation on a new Early Help delivery model for children, young people and their families is now open and we'll be collating responses throughout this six week consultation period.

We need to make changes so we can support the families who need it the most and build a service that is fit for the future. We want to hear from you to help us make the right decisions for the future of Early Help delivery for children and young people aged O-19, and their families in Shropshire.


We all want our children and young people to be happy, healthy, safe and successful. For us that means making sure we give families the right support, in the best way, at the right time. Part of this is how we can support families better earlier, to avoid small problems getting bigger. We call this early help.

With early help, families get the support they need to overcome all sorts of problems. This could be:

  • support with being a parent and doing it well
  • support for a child or a young person who might be struggling
  • support for a child or young person with bereavement
  • debt advice and getting back into work
  • building better relationships as a family
  • how to get help for mental health, substance misuse or domestic abuse problems
  • support to keep children attending and achieving in school

We want to work with families before their problems become too difficult to manage and help them to become resilient so they can cope with problems in the future using local support services.

Our focus is always on how to make life better for children and young people within their family.

The needs of the community and the families in Shropshire are changing 

  • There are approximately 59,386 children and young people under the age of 18 living in Shropshire, this is 19% of the total population (Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence. © Crown copyright 2018).
  • Approximately 13% of the local authority’s children under 16 are living in low income families.
  • We aren't always reaching the people most in need of our help, quickly enough or in the right ways.
  • There are many families getting support from a number of organisations to help with problems they are facing as a family - but this support isn't always joined up. This causes confusion and frustration for the family, and it doesn't always make things better quickly or in a way that lasts.
  • When there is one issue or problem in a family it affects everyone - so treating problems on their own doesn't work.
  • Families want to tell their story once or to a small number of people that they trust.
  • Many families are not getting the help they need early enough, meaning they end up needing much more support than they might have done if we had helped them sooner.
  • We have reviewed the use of our Early Help services including Children's Centres and youth services. The evidence shows that they are not always helping the children and families that need it the most, so we need to change that.

Our proposal

We need to focus our time and money on those who need our help the most. We also need to change how we reach out and interact with families in our communities.

We want to:

  • support families earlier, so their circumstances improve quicker and problems don't become too difficult to manage
  • give families the tools to help them solve their own problems and be more resilient in the future so they know where they can go for help when they need it

To do this, we plan to bring together all the people who work with children and young people aged 0-19 and their families in those early days when problems are getting tough, into a single team This would create one coordinated service: the new Early Help model.

This new service would be modelled around Early Help family workers who will be based in the community so they are closer to where the families who need our support live. This will mean they can reach out to these families to work with them at home or in places they are most comfortable; this could be a local community venue or even a coffee shop. Informal venues like coffee shops are often preferred by families we have worked with who feel more able to have an open and honest conversation in a relaxed environment, creating a better relationship between the individual and the worker.

This will provide families with:

  • support to manage ALL of the problems they are facing, with their consent and involvement, across all age groups in the family
  • ONE person they can rely on: an Early Help family worker who will work with the family on an agreed action plan to tackle all of their concerns and needs together, not separately

The aim is to support families with early help and work with them to identify and resolve problems. The end goal is always to give them the skills and strengths to be able to cope with problems when they arise or at least know where to go to get support earlier.

In the future, we hope to be able to bring other teams and organisations together to make this even better for families in Shropshire. This could include people like health visitors, community groups and charities that work with families.

What existing services will be included?

Creating this new single, coordinated team will mean changes.

We propose to redesign and bring together many of our services which provide help to children, young people and families in those early stages of a problem. This will involve changes to the existing Early Help services we currently deliver or commission. The affected services are:

Shropshire Family Information Service - an impartial information, advice and guidance service for families with children aged O-19 (or up to 25 with special educational needs) and professionals through a web, social media, phone and outreach offer.

Targeted Early Help Services - work with children, young people aged 0 - 19 and their families who need support but do not need the help of social care. They deal with all the issues a family faces, through direct work and through the coordination of other agencies. Targeted Early Help is provided in family homes and community settings. These services include:

  • Children's Centres are intended to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for all children under five and their families, and offer a wide range of both universal and targeted services within the community, as well as more specific support for families who need more help. The centres are also used by other agencies to deliver their services, including health visitors, midwives, Jobcentre Plus and some voluntary agencies.
  • Targeted Youth Support which is a specialist early intervention and prevention service for vulnerable young people aged 11-19, providing a range of support in order to help them gain the resilience and skills they need to progress into adult life.
  • Parenting Practitioners offer one-to-one direct support to parents via an Understanding Your Child clinic appointment, and group support through the delivery of Understanding Your Child parents’ groups and workshops. They also support partner agencies to deliver universal Understanding Your Child groups within local communities.
  • EnHance are commissioned by Shropshire Council to deliver targeted whole family support. The EnHance Service is provided by YSS as the lead partner, in conjunction with Shropshire HomeStart and provides a flexible service to build the resilience in children, young people and their families.  Support can include telephone support or face to face meetings either at home, school or local community venues.

Creating a new Early Help delivery model will mean changes to all of these services.

Other agencies who support Shropshire’s Early Help offer include:

  • Schools
  • Health visitors
  • School nurses
  • Targeted mental health support (TAMHS)
  • Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG)
  • The Voluntary Community Sector Assembly (VCSA) and the VCS 0-25 Summit
  • Early Help within the ‘Local Offer’ – support for children with disabilities and SEN
  • Autism West Midlands
  • Family group conferencing
  • 0-25 Emotional Health & Wellbeing Services for Children & Young People (Bee U)
  • Young carers
  • Family Nurse Partnership

You can view more information on each of the above offer on the Early Help webpages.

What will be different under a new delivery model?

With less money there is a need to move away from services for all to more targeted services for those who need our help the most, focusing support for the whole family. We have also been reviewing how we deliver Early Help in a more joined up and coordinated way.

Almost all of our current Early Help services focus on either a specific issue or age group which means families will often be getting help from a number of different teams and organisations.  Integrated multi agency teams is a way of bringing services together.  We are taking the opportunity to develop Early Help teams in local communities.

  • We will bring together all these targeted services providing early help support to children and families into one service.
  • We will create Early Help teams of family workers based in the communities where the families who need support live.
  • There will be Early Help bases, located in the areas where we know we are needed the most. We have looked at the families and children we currently work with and considered future housing growth to identify the best locations. This will mean a need for fewer buildings, providing a cost effective way of working.
  • Whilst demand for services is across the county, two thirds of children and families who need our support are in the Market Towns such as Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Whitchurch, Ludlow and Bridgnorth. The remaining third is spread across smaller villages and rural areas. We need to be able to support families living in large towns but also be able to go out to families in rural areas, working in partnership with our rural schools to identify and support families appropriately.
  • Some of these bases could be located in existing Children's Centres or in other local venues that make sense to the community. We will take into account the accessibility of buildings when deciding on the locations.
  • The Early Help bases will provide targeted support. Families will be invited to activities or one to one support and these bases will be used to offer group sessions such as parenting courses and partner led sessions for those who need this support. Other group sessions may be run in other community settings, such as schools or village halls, depending on the demand.
  • The Early Help bases will give the teams space to work with groups of families on specific issues but their main focus will be to go out into the communities and into schools where the people who need us are located. Current Early Help services are structured around specific issues or age groups and therefore don't support the whole family. We know problems affect everyone in the family so treating them on their own doesn't always work in the long term.
  • We know that some children and families use some of the current services for more social activities such as "stay and play" sessions, toddler groups and youth clubs. These activities are already widely available across the county and we will continue to signpost people to these and other services that we know are still needed and are popular. There may be opportunities in some locations for community groups or parish councils to become involved.

What types of support will be offered by a new delivery model?

We will aim to provide practical, family centred and intensive, consent driven support for families. Support can be provided to the whole family, individual children and young people within the family, or to groups of families who have the same problems.

The support will be agreed with children, young people and their family, and will be based on their identified needs. We will continue to learn from families and from local and national research as to what works best to help families.

Some examples of what could be provided include:

  • How to build better relationships within the family
  • What works to improve children's behaviour
  • Support for a child or young person who might be struggling
  • Understanding and managing children with special educational or physical needs
  • How to be safe for children and for parents
  • How to be the best parent you can be
  • Benefits and work, including CV preparation and interview training
  • Advice on housing problems
  • Budget management
  • Debt counselling/advice
  • Cooking healthy meals on a budget
  • Support with applications for food banks/charitable grants
  • Advice and support on finding childcare
  • Advice and support with positive activities — for children, young people and whole family
  • Practical support for a clean, safe home
  • Help to talk to other professionals — including schools
  • School attendance
  • Attending appointments with family members (e.g. health appointments)
  • Bringing together the wider family to solve problems

Some examples of what group sessions could include:

  • Parenting courses and workshops
  • Parenting through domestic abuse
  • Young parents groups
  • Workshops around volunteering, job applications and interview skills
  • Empower, a group for young women about keeping safe within relationships
  • Group for young men, exploring masculinity and healthy relationships

Accessing services going forward

The aim of a new Early Help delivery model is to bring together services for children and families and work as one to make it simpler and easier for families. This means they will only have one lead worker who will bring in additional expertise if needed.

The main route will be via a central phone number and website for families and professionals. Information and advice will also be available about activities in Shropshire for children, young people and families.

Activities, information, advice and support for families and children from 0-19 can be found on the Early Help webpages (see link under the related information section of this page). As part of our plans, we will be developing this website and information to be even better in the future.

We have looked at how this works across the country and have taken account of what works in counties that are similar to Shropshire. This model of Early Help delivery for children and families is already working well in many other parts of the country. We have gathered knowledge and research from these areas to help us develop how we think it could work best here in Shropshire and we know where our most vulnerable families live down to street level.

We have listened to the views of children and families that we work with to create a model that will meet their needs best and will listen carefully to the responses gathered through this consultation.

We have been working with a number of families in a similar way in Shropshire for a few years through pilot projects in Ludlow, Oswestry and Whitchurch and we can evidence that children and young people’s lives are greatly improved and that family life is improved. We want to use this experience and knowledge to benefit all families in Shropshire.

We recommend that developing a new delivery model will create new opportunities and better benefits for children and families. A new model would provide the best value for money and the best opportunity to improve outcomes and reduce demand on children's social care and education services. This would give us the opportunity to bring together the skills and expertise across current Early Help services and provide a more seamless and joined up approach to working with families as a whole as opposed to individual problems or age groups. This option, based on emerging national best practice, has therefore been developed and is the proposal for a new Early Help delivery model for Shropshire.

"It's better to ask for help earlier than when there's no other option. I wish I'd done it earlier, I'm not a bad parent, I just needed some guidance and ideas. Having someone to talk to outside of my friends and family has made a huge difference to our family life". (Amanda, mum of 3 from Ludlow)

How to share your views

We want your views on changes to services for children and young people aged 0 to 19 and their families in Shropshire as detailed in this document. You may respond as an individual or on behalf of an organisation. Where possible we would encourage you to give your feedback online, just click on the 'How to get involved' tab on this page to access our online survey.  

We will also be holding a number of public sessions across the county where you can find out more. These are also listed on the 'How to get involved' tab.

Next steps

We will use your feedback to inform how we develop our Early Help delivery model for children and families for the future. Results from the consultation will be shared on this page in the spring of 2018.

Feedback from the consultation and proposals for Early Help model in Shropshire will be shared with Cabinet in April 2018.

Having read all the information provided, click on the green button below to access our online feedback form to share your views.

Feedback now »

A timetable of public consultation events has been put together to enable Shropshire residents to hear more about the proposal and have their say. These are listed below:




Tuesday 30 January

1.30 pm – 2.30 pm

The Centre, Oswestry

Wednesday 31 January

11.00 am - 12.00 pm

Craven Arms Children’s Centre

Friday 2 February

10.00 am – 11.00 am

Rock Spring Community Centre, Ludlow


9.30am – 10.30am

Richmond House, Rutland, Shrewsbury


11.45 am – 12.15 pm

Buttercup Lodge, Shrewsbury

Monday 5 February

9.30 am – 10.30 am

St Mary’s Children’s Centre, Bridgnorth

Tuesday 6 February

5.00 pm – 5.30 pm

Severn Centre, Highley

Wednesday 7 February

9.30 am – 10.30 am

Whitchurch Children’s Centre

Thursday 8 February

2.00 pm - 2.30 pm

Bishop’s Castle Children’s Centre

Monday 12 February

2.15 pm - 2.45 pm

Woodside Children’s Centre, Oswestry

Tuesday 13 February

9.15 am – 10.15 am

Wem Children’s Centre - POSTPONED (now taking place on Monday 26 Feb, 11am - 11.30am)


11.30 am – 12.00 pm

Holy Trinity Children’s Centre, Oswestry


5.00 pm – 5.30 pm

Cleobury Mortimer Library

Friday 16 February

11.45 am – 12.15 pm

Longlands Children’s Centre, Market Drayton


12.30 pm – 1.30 pm

Crowmoor Children’s Centre, Shrewsbury

Monday 26 February

11am - 11.30am

11.30 am – 12.00 pm

Wem Children’s Centre

Meole Children’s Centre, Shrewsbury

Tuesday 27 February

9.15 am – 10.15 am

Ellesmere Children’s Centre

Wednesday 28 February

10.00 am – 11.00 am

Sunflower House Children’s Centre, Shrewsbury


3.00 pm – 4.00 pm

Children’s Centre, Market Drayton Infant

Thursday 1 March

7pm - 8pm

Rockspring Centre, Ludlow

now taking place on Tuesday 6 March 

10.00 am – 11.00 am

St Andrews Children’s Centre, Shifnal

now taking place on Tuesday 6 March 

3.30pm - 4.30pm (new time)

Albrighton Children’s Centre

Monday 5 March

11.00 am – 11.30 am

Methodist Hall, Broseley

Data protection

Information collected in our surveys will only be used by us (Shropshire Council) to inform the immediate and future provision of our services. The information you provide will be kept confidential in accordance with our Privacy Policy. It will not be shared outside of Shropshire Council. Information collected via our online surveys (hosted on the Surveymonkey website) will be stored on SurveyMonkey’s servers in the United States of America and SurveyMonkey gives an undertaking never to disclose the survey questions or your responses to others without permission.