In Westminster City Council, early help is delivered through an embedded family hub approach, with three family hubs delivering bespoke, integrated services to the local community. The integration is sustained through effective multiagency governance at both a strategic and operational level. There is a well-established early help partnership board, jointly chaired by the local authority and the Young Westminster Foundation. This joint chairing signals the importance of shared leadership.
At an operational level, each family hub has an integrated leadership team (ILT) comprising representatives from local partner agencies working with children aged 0–19, including youth hub leads, health visiting and school nursing managers, as well as social work and targeted early help managers and key voluntary and community sector (VCS) partners. ILTs meet monthly, with the aim of streamlining and developing joint plans and practice in response to their understanding of local need. They model and promote the shared relational practice approach too. Each ILT develops an annual family hub plan, which sets out how the family hub will meet the priorities identified in the Westminster Early Help Strategy. This is informed by local data, practitioner intelligence and family feedback.
In addition, at a practice level, each family hub hosts a monthly support panel where professionals can take cases for advice or support. Cases can be named, enabling other organisations to input and offer to share information, or they can be presented anonymously and the professional can receive advice.
A wider partnership (or network) is made up of all the services that work with families across the given family hub area, including schools, health practitioners, nurseries, health visitors and smaller VCS providers, for example. The aspiration is that this wider hub partnership will meet on a quarterly basis.
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