Reports

State of the Nation 2021: Social Mobility and the Pandemic

Publisher:

Social Mobility Commission

Publication Date:

20th July 2021

Summary:

The Social Mobility Commission charts the growing attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children, suggesting seven key pillars for post-pandemic recovery. Indicators of low social mobility, already concerning, have only been entrenched by the pandemic. Almost a third of children in the UK live in poverty, which in turn translates to lower social mobility, but this attainment gap begins in the earliest years. Thus one central pillar in solving low social mobility is to focus on early-years education: making childcare accessible and expanding Family Hubs to provide early intervention for struggling families. 

Quote Many of these approaches [from Family Hubs] could mean a strong and thriving offer for disadvantaged families if they are supported and expanded across the country.

Age of Alienation

Publisher:

Onward

Publication Date:

8th July 2021

Summary:

This report by Onward explores Britain’s fraying social fabric and asserts that community decline is driven largely by a generational problem where younger generations are suffering from ‘a collapse in community.’ Expanding on this generational divide, younger individuals are more likely to make independent choices regarding education and living arrangements. It is suggested that younger generations have a negative outlook on community involvement due to being less trusting of family, friends and neighbours as compared to older individuals. Six big ideas are suggested to ‘end the age of alienation’, including a roll out of a new Family Hubs model. This new model would provide a more complete integration of all family support services and draw on ‘the successes of Sure Start and the pioneering Family Hubs model’. 

Quote Roll out a new model of Family Hubs, to foster social fabric among younger parents and among communities with fraying social fabric. These would draw on the successes of Sure Start and the pioneering Family Hubs model, and aim to co-locate family services and charities within a single location to strengthen the most important institution: the family.

Pillars of Community: Why Communities Matter and What Matters to Them

Publisher:

The Centre for Social Justice

Publication Date:

June 2021

Summary:

Family Hubs are recommended to improve community life in this report which focuses on building strong communities in the UK. It specifically investigates how to ensure they thrive by strengthening each pillar of local community. The report tackles concern about the decline of local community life in the UK, which is being exacerbated by the pandemic. If the pillars of community are ‘a sense of security, human connections and a feeling of belonging,’ declining community leads to ‘loneliness, insecurity, and feeling left behind.’ To strengthen the fabric of UK community the report describes how the Government can take the lead on this by ‘putting community relationships at the centre of its levelling up agenda.’ Rolling out and developing more Family Hubs is a practical, tangible way to strengthen communities.

Quote Family Hubs have wide-ranging benefits. Co-locating as many services as possible would increase their impact and reduce their cost. Where services are needed but not provided by the local authority, family hubs would connect those in need of support with local charities and voluntary organisations equipped to provide it, building relationships between families and their community.

Safely Reducing the Number of Children Going into Care

Publisher:

The Centre for Social Justice

Publication Date:

April 2021

Summary:

This report, chaired by Danny Kruger MP, asserts that relationships are the key principle that should underpin any change to the care system which, it states, currently delivers poor outcomes at an immense cost, and ultimately fails vulnerable children. The report recommends the system should be organised to encourage continuous stable and positive relationships both within families and with professionals. Additionally, it asserts that the care system must take a preventative approach, to reduce adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), childhood trauma and other poor outcomes. It recommends Family Hubs as they emphasise strengthening family and other relationships whilst incorporating a preventative approach. The report also highlights how Family Hubs provide effective outreach for ‘hard to reach’ families and ‘have the ability to transform family services.’ (Danny Kruger MP authored two reports for the Government, Pillars of Community and The Great Recovery – a post Covid-19 deal for Britain.) 

Quote The Family Hubs Network of more than 150 hubs has developed nationally, grown organically as a response to local needs. At their heart, Dr Samantha Callan, Family Hubs Network co-founder tells us, is the relational approach: strengthening relationships, whether through parenting support, or couples conflict services; and building relationships in the locality, and reflecting that locality in their variety.

The Best Start for Life: A Vision for the 1,001 Critical Days

Publisher:

The Early Years Healthy Development Review led by Andrea Leadsom

Publication Date:

25th March 2021

Summary:

This review was conducted to improve ‘the health and development outcomes for babies in England.’ The central theme of the review centres on ensuring that critical support is provided for babies and parents in the first 1001 days after birth, as this time period is when ‘the building blocks for lifelong emotional and physical health are laid down.’ Support in the 1001 days must be improved to provide 0-2 year olds with the best ‘Start for Life’ and so support services must be easily accessible, joined-up and committed to by volunteers, early years’ charities and professionals alike. Six recommendations called ‘action areas’ are laid out to increase families’ access to needed services and to better connect any current community services available for families. Importantly, the review champions the family hubs model, recommending its expansion, as a welcoming place for families to access Start for Life services.

Quote Our vision is for Family Hubs to be welcoming, family-focused centres for every new family during pregnancy and beyond. Local Family Hub networks may consist of both physical and virtual places where services to support families come together… A successful Family Hub would be a place for families to go for advice and for information about services they might need when they’re having a difficult time.

Planning Early Childhood Services in 2020

Publisher:

Early Intervention Foundation

Publication Date:

November 2020

Summary:

The aim of this review, commissioned from the EIF by the Department for Education, is to understand contemporary local practice in children’s centres and family hubs and explore how far this and existing research can guide future development. Key messages include the need to be clear about what a local area is seeking to achieve through its early childhood services and then design them in a way likely to achieve this purpose; the importance of sharing local practice and experimentation as there is a strong appetite for peer-to-peer learning opportunities; and an emphasis on effective local planning and implementation. 

Quote There is a logical case for more holistic and joined-up approaches to delivering area-based family services, which responds to concerns about a lack of service integration and artificial service boundaries...the next step is to test this theoretical case through robust evaluation.