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Evaluation of Think Family: West Sussex

West Sussex Council and its partner committed to undertake an evaluation of its Think Family programme shortly after its launch. The aim was to gather a robust set of evidence that was able to provide an accurate reflection of the successes and challenges of the programme, the outcomes achieved by families and the financial costs and benefits. 

The evaluation which ran for 18 months provided regular reports, presentations and discussion with the management and strategy teams to influence both the delivery of the programme and the subsequent Early Help strategy.  It also informed practice through feeding through lessons from case file reviews from our experienced team of researchers and practice experts. 

Activities involved in the evaluation included:

  • ongoing analysis of quantitative data on families to consider the performance of the programme against specific outcomes;
  • a longitudinal study of 20 families undertaken over 18 months; and
  • the development of an economic model to assess the financial implications which culminated in a business case for further investment.

Interface developed a strong and transparent relationship with West Sussex Council and its partners, which allowed us to provide a valuable critical friend to the programme. The success of the evaluation is reflected in the fact that Interface have since been commissioned to deliver a range of other contracts in this area, including training on family support, strategy support to the early help agenda and evaluations of linked projects.

 The evaluation presented key issues for Think Family and partners to address. These have and will continue to influence both front line practice, and also the strategic implications for partnership development, early help and commissioning.

Chris Tuke - Commissioning & Design Manager – Think Family/Early Help, West Sussex County Counci