This module outlines the different funding streams associated with family hubs. It describes the breakdown of funds that nearly half the local authorities in England will receive as part of the family hub and Start for Life programme transformation, as well as additional funding pots local authorities may access or benefit from in their development of family hubs.
This module is part of the background information section along with the family hubs and early help: an overview and the Start for Life and other policy and practice initiatives modules.
We recommend you also read those modules before moving on the strategic ‘golden thread’ section.
What are the different funding pots for family hubs?
Family hubs are a way of joining up locally to improve access to services and the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers. They put relationships at the heart of family help. The family hubs and early help: an overview module provides more information about family hubs and how the three principles (access, connection and relationships) underpin the family hub model. The different funding pots allocated to support family hubs are outlined below:
1. Family Hubs and Start for Life programme
At the Autumn 2021 Budget, the government committed to invest £301.75 million into a family hub and Start for Life programme to transform services into a family hub model and achieve integration at a systems level, as well as improve the universal Start for Life offer in 75 Local Authorities across England.
This funding is committed over three financial years starting from 2022-23 and the most recent spending review confirmed the allocation of funding until March 2025. This funding is also called ‘Transformation Fund Two’ (TF2) and will be distributed across nearly half the local authorities in England. The majority of the funding allocation is to support development of Start for Life services.
The Family Hubs and Start for Life programme package contains funding for 75 upper-tier Local Authorities on the following components and you can read more in our Start for Life and other policy and practice initiatives module:
£82m to create Family Hub networks serving children of all ages (75 local authorities)
For local authorities: this budget is to support transformation or development of a family hub model and seeks to increase the number of family hubs and widen the range of services delivered through the family hub. It will also be used to improve integration across services and promote relational practice across the family hub workforce.
For families: this budget will mean better access to services and a more joined-up experience when accessing support that requires navigating different services.
£100m for parent-infant relationships and perinatal mental health support (75 local authorities)
For local authorities: this budget is to enable family hub services to include support for mild perinatal mental health difficulties and support for parent-infant relationship difficulties for mums, dads and co-parents. The budget will also be used to provide perinatal mental health and parent-infant relationship training and supervision for family hub staff.
For families: this funding will lead to better access to perinatal mental health support and support for parent-infant relationship difficulties, which is inclusive of support for fathers and co-parents. This budget will also lead to more open and non-judgemental conversations with parents and carers early on about their mental health and their feelings towards their relationship with their baby, and a more seamless experience in accessing the right support at the right time.
£50m for parenting support (75 local authorities)
For local authorities: this funding will be used to support new and expectant parents making the transition to parenthood. This budget funds development of universal and targeted parenting support offered within a hub building, online and within peer-to-peer support networks. The money can also support integration between parenting support services with clear, joined-up referral pathways and fund training in reflective, relational practice for family hub staff.
For families: this funding will ensure all parents can access parenting support early, during pregnancy and in the first years after having a baby, so that families can feel supported in their transition to parenthood.
£50m for infant feeding support services (75 local authorities)
For local authorities: this funding will be used to design and deliver a blended offer of advice and support for mums, dads and co-parents to support them in meeting their infant-feeding goals. The funding will support integration of services and development of clear referral pathways for specialist support if required. The money can also contribute to staff training to identify more complex infant feeding needs (e.g. tongue tie) and relational, reflective practice.
For families: this funding will ensure families receive timely, high-quality, one-to-one infant-feeding support as well as access to peer support networks in their local area and 24/7 access to a National Breastfeeding Helpline. All support received will be joined up and options for specialist support will be clear and accessible.
£10m to publish a clear Start for Life offer and establish parent and carer panels (75 local authorities)
For local authorities: this funding will be used to reach the first milestones of the family hub and Start for Life programme which requires local authorities to publish their Start for Life offer both online, physically and via outreach activities, and set-up or build-on existing parent carer panels to enable coproduction of family hub services.
For families: this funding will improve awareness for families on what services are available to them in their local area and how to access them. The parent carer panels will offer opportunities for families to feed into their local family hub and provide a platform for parents and carers to have their voices heard.
£10m to workforce pilots
The funding for workforce pilots is an opportunity for approximately five local authorities to develop, test and evaluate innovative Start for Life workforce models. Eligible local authorities will be able to apply for this funding in April 2023 and successful local authorities will begin implementation in Summer 2023. The programme funding is for two financial years (2023-24 & 2024-25).
£28.7m to support the Home Learning Environment (HLE)
There is also an additional £28.7m to support parents and carers of pre-school aged children with their Home Learning Environment (HLE) through family hubs. This focus is to support education recovery for young children who were babies at the height of the pandemic.
Within the 75 local authorities who are eligible to receive family hubs and Start for Life funding (TF2 areas), there are a sub-group of 14 local authorities who have been selected as ‘trailblazers’. Each trailblazer local authority will receive additional funding in their first financial year (2022-23) of around £180k, and this funding is expected to accelerate delivery of ambitious, innovative and tangible transformations for families in the first year of the programme. Trailblazers are also obligated to share their delivery experience and expertise with other local authorities to support wider family hub transformation across the country.
The Trailblazer Guide published by the DfE and the DHSC provides more information about trailblazer vision and expectations.
2. Family hubs transformation fund
In November 2021, the DfE launched a £12 million Family Hubs Transformation Fund to support 12 local authorities in England to transform their services into a family hub model and achieve integration at a systems level. This funding is also known as ‘Transformation Funding 1’ (TF1).
The Family Hubs Transformation Fund is separate to the family hubs and Start for Life programme, but the vision for the transformation of services into a family hub model is consistent across both programmes. However, the 12 local authorities who receive TF1 funding will not receive additional funding for the services outlined in the family hubs and Start for Life programme.
All 12 local authorities receiving Transformation Funding will take part in an evaluation that will be publicly accessible to enable learning about the process of local transformation and build an evidence-base to support other areas moving to a family hub model.
3. Grants to accelerate opening Family Hubs
In 2021, the DfE announced the Children’s Social Care Covid-19 Regional Recovery and Building Back Better Fund, worth up to £24 million and distributed across the nine regions in England aimed at levelling-up outcomes for vulnerable children and build a fairer and more resilient support system.
Through this fund, £3.2m was made available to accelerate the opening of family hubs across all regions of England. This included support for 25 local authorities to begin the transformation process or further develop their family hub model. In addition, one local authority from each region of England were selected to work regionally with DfE’s policy team to share good practice and develop plans for a wider regional roll out of the family hubs model.
4. Family Hubs Growing Up Well Data & Digital project
The Family Hubs Growing Up Well is a cross-governmental project funded by HM Treasury through the Shared Outcomes Fund. The project aims to develop digital and data solutions that solve practical problems local areas face in delivering accessible and integrated support through family hubs. The project focuses on improving how information is shared between professionals in a family hub network and improving how families access and navigate services. – Lancashire, Bristol, Suffolk
Six local authorities have been selected to work in partnership alongside this project to develop and test proposed information sharing solutions integrated into the family hub model. Each local authority will initially receive up to £10k to fund staffing resource in the test-phase of the project, and each LA will also have access to capacity and transformation grant funding to support their work on the digital project.
5. Evaluation Innovation Fund & Behavioural Insights Research:
Evaluation Innovation Fund Research
The Evaluation Innovation Fund Research forms part of the £2.5 million investment from DfE into research and development of best practice of integration of services into a Family Hub model. The Evaluation Innovation Fun is a mixed-methods evaluation carried out by Ecorys and Sheffield Hallam University to assess the implementation, impact and value for money of six existing Family Hub models in Bristol, Doncaster, Essex, Leeds, Sefton and Suffolk.
The interim findings of this project were published in December 2022 and the final report from the evaluation will be publicly accessible in Summer 2023.
Behavioural Insights Research
In September 2021, the DfE contracted Sheffield Hallam University to lead the Family Hubs Behavioural Insights Research Programme, which aims to build an evidence base on what works to increase the reach and take-up of family hub services by disadvantaged families. The project is working with four local authorities to assess need, effectiveness and acceptability of services in Durham, Sheffield, Wolverhampton and Wakefield.
The findings of this project were published in December 2022 and the National Centre for Family Hubs hosted a webinar to share the learning from this research project.
6. National Centre for Family Hubs
The National Centre for Family Hubs (NCFH) forms part of the £2.5 million investment from DfE into research and development of best practice of integration of services into a family hub model.
NCFH is hosted by the Early Years and Prevention Department in the Anna Freud Centre and we are a national learning platform which supports local areas in England to design and develop family hubs so that babies, children and their families can access the joined-up, whole family, and inclusive support they need to thrive. We are funded by the Department for Education and our evidence partners are the What Works for Early Intervention and Children’s Social Care.
Our work is informed by the following three areas of insight, which we triangulate so we can develop and disseminate helpful learning about family hub implementation and situate this learning in the wider socio-cultural context.
- Evidence-informed: we use a mixed-methods approach to evidence and policy synthesis and work closely with our evidence partners, the WWEICSC to generate and test new evidence and best practice.
- Practice-based: we work with local authorities, regional communities and other stakeholders to ensure our learning is informed by local practice and case study development. This complements our regional support work, which draws on the application of mentalization to practice.
- Participation-led: our work is underpinned by the Lundy model – a rights-based participation model. Our paid Participation Advisors are involved in national forums and work with local authorities to gather insights into on participation so we can share this learning with the family hubs community.
You can read more about the National Centre for Family Hubs in our ‘About Us’ webpage.
Why are only some local authorities receiving funding?
The 75 local authorities eligible to receive family hubs and Start for Life Programme funding were pre-selected by DfE based on Income Deprivation Affecting Children Indices (IDACI) average rank, subject to the additional condition that a minimum of 25% of local authorities from each rural urban classification are pre-selected. See more information about the selection methodology.
As well as the 75 local authorities eligible to receive TF2 funding, there are an additional 12 local authorities receiving Family Hub Transformation Funding (TF1). The remaining 65 local authorities are not eligible to receive specific Family Hub Transformation funding at this time. The outcomes from the additional government-funded research programmes and grants will be publicly accessible and are designed to benefit and support all 152 local authorities in developing an integrated service model.
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