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Developing a workforce strategy for family support services

Report | September 2011

This report was prepared by IPC for a County Borough Council in Wales and is intended to support the local authority role in piloting a scheme under the Welsh Assembly Government’s Families First initiative, which is aimed at improving the life chances of vulnerable children and young people at risk of developing more complex needs. It draws together analysis of policy drivers, evidence from best practice and outcomes from a workforce conference organised by IPC in July 2011. It explains how to develop a workforce strategy that integrates expertise from across a range of sectors and roles, dealing directly or less directly with children and young people, in order to improve family support services.

Having reviewed the broad policy objectives of the Children and Families Measure and the Child Poverty Strategy for Wales as well as family support-focused programmes such as Investors in Families, the report then examines the specific aims of Families First, a programme designed to remodel family support services by emphasising measures including early identification of vulnerable families, preventative action, delivery of local, integrated and accessible services, and provision of an appropriately skilled workforce.

Available tools for developing a ‘whole workforce’ approach are described and the evidence base for the merits of integrated working set out. The report then summarises the responses of participants at the conference – including representatives from the local authority, health service, and voluntary and community sector – and identifies training and development needs for family support workers arising from debate.

Finally, specific recommendations for developing family support services are made in seven areas: governance, strategy, identifying the workforce, skills and competencies, ways of working, resourcing, and training needs.

For further information please contact Kathryn Rhodes at IPC


Tel: 01225 484088