New opportunities from Department for Education for Family Hubs

Posted 23rd March 2022
Image Credit: Christopher Bill

The Department for Education (DfE) has released two new updates on Family Hubs in recent days, one for funding and one for research collaboration.

Round Three of the Growing Up Well digital project has just been announced, where up to six successful local authorities will receive funding to test and embed i) a directory of professionals and ii) a digital referral service. The total funding for this project, to be shared between the local authorities, is £1.7m. Eligible LAs will require both the desire and the capacity to adapt their information sharing practices, coupled with a commitment to the Family Hub model, whether currently practising or seeking to change. The expression of interest form can be found here on the National Centre for Family Hubs website and applications for expressions of interest close 10th April.

Secondly, the DfE is carrying out a new phase of behavioural insights research, aimed at LAs or VCS organisations seeking to increase Family Hub uptake amongst disadvantaged groups. The opportunity to submit an expression of interest (EOI) is now open, and ends on 8th April. It will involve collaboration with DfE researchers, rather than direct new funding, but the research will be funded by the DfE and will aid each LA or VCS organisation’s efficacy through the evaluation process. The full guide can be found here, and the application form can be found here on the National Centre for Family Hubs website.

The DfE has specified it would particularly welcome expressions of interest from LAs or VCS organisations already working on supporting families with SEND, providing adolescent services, and/or with an existing Start for Life offer, regardless of where they are on the journey to Family Hub maturity. But even if this does not fit with the work you currently do, the DfE is still eager to receive EOIs, as they want to hear about and engage with work across the country. The guide stresses that it should not be a burdensome process, and neither does it require prior knowledge of Theory of Change models.

The Department for Education’s recent report, produced in tandem with Sheffield Hallam University, may also prove valuable, since it contains details of the first stage of this evidence-led programme. Four local authorities were selected for the research project – Sheffield, Wakefield, Wolverhampton, and Durham – and the full report will be released once the evidence has been gathered. The report may be helpful for those wishing to submit an EOI, but not necessary.

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