Transforming Children's Services in Bristol
A number of changes in children's services are taking place in Bristol. Firstly, the plan for Bristol children’s centres is currently in the process of being implemented. The cost reductions for children’s centres were agreed at the cabinet meeting in February 2017 following the 2016 budget consultation. Savings of £1.5 million need to be made for children’s centres. The 22 children’s centres and Bristol City Council agreed a plan last year which included keeping all centres open. Lead children’s centres were agreed in four areas of Bristol:
North – Filton Avenue children's centre
South – Knowle West children's centre
Central – St. Pauls children's centre
East: - Little Hayes (Family Support lead) and Speedwell children's centre
The lead centres will manage the funding for children’s centres in those areas, and be accountable for services, including redeployment of staff. Health visitors will be co-located at centres, and Early Help remodelling is happening alongside this. Leads of children’s centres will be meeting with Family Support workers. A community plan will be developed for each area to identify any gaps and needs, and also using information from the public engagement survey. carried out by the city council last year.
Secondly the remodelling of Early Help services will now be under Social Care and Early Help Teams will be known as “Families in Focus”. In practical terms this will result in changes in teams, with a reduction from 13 to 6 social workers across the city (2 per area) and the role will move to giving advice, support and consultancy to partners and internal teams. Family Intervention keyworkers will work intensively with families over a 6-9 month period and more Family Support Workers will be recruited to support families in a range of ways. There will be additional Parenting Practitioners.
Team around the school is a partnership between schools, Early Help, Area social work and other agencies. They will work together to provide early help and support and when appropriate advice and guidance to co-ordinate a plan to meet the family’s needs. The focus is on prevention rather than crisis intervention and provides an opportunity for early conversations to take place about children and young people that schools are worried about. As well as supporting early conversations about children and young people, they will prioritise support, avoid duplication of services, and support schools to manage and support children and young people by providing access to specialist advice and guidance.
Integrated Locality meetings will aim to discuss relevant referrals for universal, universal plus, targeted and specialist services, discuss and review complex cases, and manage step in/step out, step up / step down requests. They will also take collective responsibility for the children and young people in the area, and identify and highlight emerging themes and trends to advisory board, service providers and commissioners.