The Department for Education has announced the first seven local authorities to receive funding from the Family Hubs Transformation Fund, with five more to follow in the coming months. We congratulate the local authorities so far announced: Brighton and Hove, Wirral, Stockport, Dorset, Solihull, York, and Cheshire East, for their successful bids.
The Transformation Fund is part of the Shared Outcomes Fund (read our Family Hubs Government Funding Roundup), which tests innovative ways of working in the public sector. As a result it is a smaller pot of funding (£12 million in total), exclusively to facilitate the transition of local authorities towards a Family Hub model. Of the approx. £1m allocated to each local authority, up to £833k will be for programme expenditure and £167k for capital expenditure. The project will run through until March 2024.
As a pilot scheme it has a strong research emphasis, with the aim of building an evidence base and a set of general resources for local authorities moving to the Family Hub model. Though local authorities will lead the transformation process, they will work closely with the DfE and the National Centre for Family Hubs to share insights and develop resources. The DfE will also contribute data analysis and partner with external evaluators throughout the process, to inform and adapt the approach.
The £82 million in the Autumn Budget on the other hand, recently distributed between 75 local authorities, is part of a wider £300m ‘Start for Life’ offer, funding both Hub services (particularly in early years) and Hubs themselves. The emphasis is on service provision, but can benefit from the insights developed through the Transformation Fund. There is no overlap in the local authorities who have received funding from the Transformation Fund and the Start for Life offer.
A total of 84 bids from local authorities were received for the Transformation Fund, reflecting the increasing interest in Family Hubs from local authorities around the country. The seven local authorities announced are now in a position to begin work, while Will Quince, in his statement on the Transformation Fund, clarified that the other five successful local authorities would be announced ‘in the coming months’.