Agenda item


To receive the report of Helen Finnemore, Head of Family Hubs & Start for Life Transformation and Ivana Price, Head of Early Help, Youth & Community Safety.


Ivana Price, Head of Early Help, Youth and Community Safety, introduced the report, further to the presentation to the Panel on 23 March 2023.


There had been great progress over the past year. The first hub opened in Ponders End, supporting families, children and young people from pre-birth to age 19, or 25 for young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The soft launch of the second hub at Craig Park took place at the beginning of January 2024.


Helen Finnemore, Head of Family Hubs and Start for Life Transformation, highlighted the services at each hub and what was to be mobilised in the coming months. Start for Life would bring a significant transformation of existing services. The Start for Life services were being publicised and information being made available online and in a printed brochure.


Initial data on the impact of youth and family hubs was emerging, which evidenced tangible benefits. Detailed feedback was being sought from families on their experience of using family hubs, plus surveys of those not using hubs. There was significant targeted work to vulnerable families. The Parent / Carer Panel had been recruited to work alongside the development of the hub services.


Questions were invited from Members.


The Chair welcomed the progress achieved. In response to queries regarding the nominations to the Parent / Carer Panel, it was advised that clear guidance was issued from the Department for Education in respect of recruitment, frequency of meetings, and role of the panel. There was clear criteria for the work of the panel and input was representative of the borough. The Chair stressed that it would be important to hear from all types of parents and carers and that it would be helpful for the Scrutiny Panel Members to receive more information on the panel’s membership. Officers agreed to share more information, and added that they also employed translators.

ACTION:  Helen Finnemore


In response to further queries from Members, it was advised that officers were also working with Housing colleagues to explore bespoke work for families in temporary accommodation to use the hubs. It was also confirmed that a Family Navigator was available at all times at each hub to signpost families and young people to all relevant services for support.


It was advised that the Department for Education agreed the delivery plan with the Council in respect of the transformation and type of programmes expected to be delivered, and that they scrutinised the delivery. Officers had developed a set of internal targets and performance indicators. The first year was important in providing a benchmark.


It was confirmed that data was being collected on footfall, numbers of children using the hubs, ethnic origin of users and more. Given the limitations on space, there was a need to be selective and to prioritise the service delivery. Members asked about potential for dual purposing space in other buildings. Original plans had proposed spokes linked to family hubs. Close relationships were being developed with third sector partners and officers were pursuing work towards such links and networking.


In response to Members’ queries regarding food support, it was advised that signposting to appropriate local partners and services was given, and Family Navigators were knowledgeable of these. Funding criteria for family hubs was strict, but it was an ambition to offer a food pantry from family hubs directly in the future.


The Chair thanked officers for providing the update report and for attending the meeting.


The Panel AGREED to note the good progress that has been made in relation to the:

· opening of Ponders End and Craig Park Youth and Family Hubs; and

· mobilisation and commissioning across the six Department of Education funded Start for Life services.

Supporting documents: