Manchester City Council

The Council & democracy Early Help for Families

An Early Help Offer for families is our response to the government’s national Troubled Families programme aimed at improving the lives of families struggling to cope, and in supporting them to play a stable role in their own communities. 

We are working closely with partner organisations to ensure that services are more joined up. This will make it possible for us to:

  • identify families who are eligible for help and support
  • ensure services across a range of organisations are coordinated and focussed on families with the most pressing and complex needs
  • participate in local and national research to assess how well the programme is working in delivering better long term outcomes for families and in making services more effective.

About Early Help for families

Families with a range of problems often struggle to get the right help and support at the right time.

To address this, we are working across organisational boundaries with partner organisations to ensure that families in need of additional support receive coordinated help and support when it is most needed.

For this reason, with the help of our partner organisations, we are identifying families experiencing at least two of the issues listed below so that early help can be offered to those with the most pressing needs:

  • parents or children involved in crime or anti-social behaviour
  • children who have not been attending school regularly
  • children who need help: children of all ages, who need help, are identified as in need or are subject to a Child Protection Plan
  • adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion or young people at risk of worklessness
  • families affected by domestic violence and abuse
  • parents or children with a range of health problems.

How we assess families eligible for Early Help

To assess those eligible for Early Help, personal information is shared with partner organisations to understand which families experience two or more of the issues listed above.

In addition, we and/or our partner organisations directly refer families who will benefit from coordinated support.

Only the minimum necessary information is shared on a ‘need to know’ basis.

A list of the partner organisations working with the Council are:

  • Health
  • Schools
  • Police and Probation Services
  • Housing
  • Local Job Centre plus.

Following identification those families with the most pressing needs will be asked to join the programme.

National and local research

Personal information will be used to evaluate how successful and effective the programme is at both local and national level. This is the case whether or not a family has been asked to join the programme.

National research

At national level, the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has commissioned the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to undertake national research to evaluate the effectiveness of this programme.

Local authorities and national government departments are being asked to contribute to this research study.

This means that basic personal information supplied by us about individual family members (such as name, address, date of birth and sex) together with family level information about those issues listed earlier, is to be linked with personal information held by national government departments.

This research aims to compare the outcomes between those families engaged on the programme and those who are not. This will determine whether this new way of working changes lives for the better by for example, reducing offending, truancy and getting people ready for work. This will also help inform improvements to the service over time. 

Personal information linked for research purposes at national level will:

  • be de-identified after it has been linked so as to limit any chance of families and individuals being re-identified;
  • be kept securely to prevent any unauthorised use;
  • not be used for making decisions about families or individuals;
  • not be shared back with the local authority;
  • be destroyed once the research project is concluded;

The national departments involved in this research are:

  • Ministry of Justice (Police National Computer and prisons database)
  • Department for Education (National Pupil Database and individualised learner record)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (Work & Pensions Longitudinal Study)
  • Health & Social Care Information Centre (Hospital Episodes Statistics, Mental Health minimum dataset, improving access to psychological therapies and maternity and children’s dataset)
  • Public Health England (national drug treatment monitoring system)
  • National Crime Agency (crime mapping database)

We will only receive information about the local authority results of this national research in anonymised form and any reports published by the DCLG will ensure that families and individuals are not identifiable.

Local Research

If we alone, or with other councils in Greater Manchester, decide it's necessary to supplement the above national research and this involves personal information, this will be carried out in line with the safeguards listed above.

Statistical analysis may also be undertaken from time to time using only anonymised information.

General information

We share your personal information only for the reasons set out above, unless the law requires or permits us to share it for another reason, for example, this is necessary to protect you or others from harm.

Your personal information will be handled securely, strictly on a 'need to know' basis only by those specifically authorised to do so and will not be kept longer than is necessary.

Your rights

You have the right to ask us for personal information held about you.

You may also ask us to consider any objections you may have to the processing of your personal information, including processing for research purposes.

For more details about your rights and whether you and/or your family are eligible for Early Help and support contact or call 0161 234 1184

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may amend this Privacy Notice from time to time. If we make any substantial changes in the way we use your personal information we will make that information available by amending this notice.

Date published: August 2015
Version number: 1.0

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