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Development of a Family Support Pathway (Sefton)

Interface worked together with Sefton Borough Council to support the development and understanding of clear pathways for children, young people and families.

The leadership teams had given considerable time to shaping their vision around the systems and cultural changes required for a new way of working. There was a shared desire to create better outcomes for families and develop more efficient ways of working in a climate of ever decreasing resources. The beginning of the change process to operationalise how families can better access services at every level and have smoother transitions between the tiers of support had begun. However, greater clarity around what the pathway for families would look like needed further development.


There were several conflicting and complementary national agendas which were driving change at a local level but that needed to be joined up through the Interface work. Interface also had a team working in Sefton on School Readiness.  Alongside improvements to services for families, it was recognised that an additional driving force was the need to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Successful changes to the way in which the local authorities deliver services should impact on the volume of child protection plans and in turn save or release resources for earlier intervention.

Solutions / Outcomes:

The workplan covered 3 phases:

  1. Evaluation and Analysis - analysis of existing provision, understanding the quality and impact of these services and how the customer experiences these services. Interface then assessed the cohort to determine new target levels for services. Findings were incorporated into an initial report.
  2. Design - negotiation of the fit between design considerations and recommendations that came from the stage 1 report. Prioritisation of design was based on a wish list that Interface worked with Sefton to create.
  3. Implementation - Interface were able to drive the implementation and increase capacity for the leadership team. Service Providers were re-engaged to own their actions and establish champions to assist the leadership team and support cultural change. Interface supported the testing of the model.

Interface were successful in bringing together a range of professionals from Sefton Borough Council and its partner agencies for on-going work together, establishing beneficial peer relationships, enabling shared learning and showcasing best practice.  Interface helped drive through the change process and offered challenge and support in the pilot phase.  Interface's national experience ensured that we could consider the experiences of other similar support pathways in order that findings informed Sefton’s plans and that learning was applied to strengthen Sefton’s provision.

The overall objective of the work was achieved. Interface worked with Sefton to design, implement and embed the right family support pathway model into Sefton by March 2014 that enabled the right families to access the right services at the right time.  The effectiveness of the objective was determined by a series of data and performance indicators that evidence the success of the new model that created a joined up and integrated partnership service across Early Intervention and Prevention.