The Government has taken further steps to demonstrate its commitment to champion Family Hubs, with the Department for Education’s announcement of the Family Hubs – Growing Up Well project and funding for data-focussed projects.
Funded at Spending Round 2020 as part of the Shared Outcomes fund, the project aims to improve outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable children, from conception to five, across education, health and social care. £1.2m capacity and transformation grant funding will be shared by three local authorities across 2021-23.
The DfE’s briefing explains, ‘This project aims to use the opportunities created by digital and data to help give local early years professionals the tools they need to collaborate more easily as a ‘team around the family’, including through family hub models.’
Partnering with the DfE, three local authorities will engage in a digital discovery process. Applications for Round One, involving the selection of one local authority, which must demonstrate high levels of data maturity, are now open and expressions of interest must be received by 14th March.
The successful bidder will work with Department for Education digital specialists to develop digital and data products to improve how early years professionals collaborate and plan around families with a focus on information sharing. The new products will have the potential to be replicated in local authorities around the country.
Round Two, which will select the remaining two local authorities, will open for applications in Summer 2021, when more information will be provided.
This project is in addition to the announcement in December of a National Centre for Family Hubs, which will support areas and local authorities to set up new Family Hubs, and an Evaluation Innovation Fund to design and deliver evaluations of Family Hubs’ effectiveness and value for money.