Early help below child in need threshold

1. Does the local authority gather information on cases/referrals where an early help/intervention service is offered to children with needs recorded at a threshold below/prior that of ‘child in need’ (Children Act 1989)?


2. Please can you tell me the numbers of closed, opened, and active cases of early intervention with children, young people and their families not reaching thresholds for recording as Children in Need statutory cases.

In April 2017 Devon County Council and its partners launched a new electronic multi-agency Early Help case recording system. From the data held on this system for this period from April to end September 2017: 743 new cases were opened and are active.

3. What groups of practitioners are case-holders or ‘lead professionals’ with regard to early intervention work with children and families?

In Devon, the early help system is made up of service users, community resources, universal service providers and targeted services working together to enable families to manage their own dilemmas and solve their own problems, making whatever changes are necessary to secure the well-being of their children, enabling appropriate risk management in the community and a proportionate response to risk and need. The  case holding or lead practitioner role with the Early help system can be from any of the agencies/services/providers that make up the Devon early Help System.

4. Please supply broad detail of models of practice used in working with this service users group. For example, Team around the Child, or Team around the Family, Common Assessment Framework (CAF) or other multi-agency systems of practice.

Right For Children’ is new Devon early Help electronic database that is used by agencies/services and providers  in Devon to bring together multi-agency support to families across Devon and where multi-agency Early Help Assessments, plans and team around the Families are recorded and stored. The Devon Early Help Assessment is a tool used by all partners in Devon to assess the Early Help needs of a family and individual family members. It is a multi-agency gathering of information in order that any additional needs within a family can be understood and the process of providing or accessing support can begin. This will mean that the family and everyone involved can make a plan to provide that support. Part of that process may include a Team Around The Family (TAF) meeting taking place, with the family to discuss the help they need and who will provide it.

Where families meet at least 2 of the 6 Early Help Criteria and additional targeted support is required this can be access through the Early Help ‘Request for Additional Service’ form (RfAS). Requests for Additional Service are considered at the weekly Multi-agency Early Help Triage meetings which are Locality based.

5. If primary reasons for referral are routinely recorded in any statistical returns or reports for this service user group, please supply aggregate data for the most recent annual report?

We do not hold this information – we have not yet produced an annual report.

6. In addition, if data breakdown of cases by age, gender, and ethnicity is recorded, please supply with the other information requested as above.

Children Male Female Undisclosed Total
Age 0 – 5 167 148 3 318
6 – 11 320 223 1 544
11 – 16 155 160 0 315
16 – 18 32 25 0 57
Total 674 556 4 1234


Adults Male Female Undisclosed Total
18+ 420 610 112 1142
Ethnicity – Any Other White Background 14 8 0 22
Ethnicity – Information not yet obtained or blank 174 127 112 413
Ethnicity – White British 412 282 0 694

We hold information on a number of other ethnicity categories but to disclose may identify individuals therefore it is exempt under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act – Personal Data.

Children – ethnicity  0 -5 6 – 11 11 – 16
Any other white background 11 12 0
Information not yet obtained or blank 95 141 98
White British 201 380 208

We hold information on a number of other ethnicity categories but to disclose may identify individuals therefore it is exempt under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act – Personal Data.

7. Does the authority compile strategic reviewing reports describing and analysing the early help/intervention work undertaken with children and families and can recent examples be supplied as part of this FOI request? For example, any recent reports or audits which describe the frameworks and models for local multi-agency practice in early help or intervention would be greatly appreciated.

We do not hold this information, however, it is understood that an initial audit was being discussed in September.