Publication - Research and analysis

Best Start Grant - visual summary of research findings

Published: 20 Aug 2018
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
Part of:
Children and families

The report summarises the results of the Best Start Grant Alpha research involving Experience Panel members and other user groups.

Best Start Grant - visual summary of research findings
Summary of findings and what we will do

Summary of findings and what we will do

1. Finding out about the grant

People told us that they would look for information about the grant:

  • Online
  • From health profesionals, usually midwives
  • In the Birth Book/ Ready Steady Baby
  • From family and friends

Some people said they would be nervous applying for the first time.

Some said they wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to their midwife about applying.

We are using these findings to think about how we can best make people aware of Best Start Grant.

2. How you apply for the grant

Some people said it would be easier to be able to apply online. Reasons included:

  • It is easier
  • You don’t need to post anything
  • You can go back and make changes
  • Their health condition makes speaking to people on the phone or writing applications by hand more difficult

Others told us that they find this difficult and would prefer to apply by phone or on paper. Reasons included:

  • Not being able to use or access a computer
  • A telephone conversation might make you more confident you have done everything right

Some people would like to be able to speak to a staff member face to face. Others wanted to be able to get support from an independent organisation.

Some said that they would do the form a little bit at a time and come back to it, and like to be able to check their answers.

It is important to go back and look at answers as I have a memory issue, I will always second guess myself and need to check things.
Experience Panel member

We are working towards making sure that you can apply using:

Paper form
In person

3. When you would do the application

People said that it could be difficult to find time to do the application. They were more likely to do it:

  • In the evening when children are in bed
  • During lunch hour at work
  • When they have childcare
  • When they are feeling well enough

We are looking at how to make sure people have a choice about when to apply.

4. Providing evidence

People said that it can be difficult to get health professionals to sign paper forms, for example to prove you are pregnant.

Others said that providing important documents or certificates can be difficult, or they worry about sending them by post.

It seems like when you want people to share information they don't and when you don't want them to, they do
Experience Panel member

We are looking at how to limit the amount of evidence that you need to provide and making this as easy as possible.

5. Time to do the application

Some people told us that 3 months from the birth of the baby was not enough time to apply for the grant. Reasons include:

  • If they were unwell or their baby was unwell
  • It takes time to get all the evidence
  • If they needed to wait for other benefits to come through first – i.e. Child Tax Credit

When you are pregnant and got so many appointments, it will be more stress having a deadline.
Experience Panel member

We will give people 6 months to apply after the baby is born

6. Keeping up to date with your application

People said that it took a long time to hear back when they made an application.

Some people said this made them feel anxious.

Some people said that they paid for recorded delivery so that they could see that their application had been delivered.

We will send people a text message when we receive their application.

7. People with particular experiences

People who are kinship carers, single parents or who have dyslexia said that they need the agency to have an awareness of the sorts of difficulties they have.

  • A single parent may feel reluctant to ask for help in case this is seen as not being able to look after their child by themselves.
  • A kinship carer may delay seeking help right away because they are so busy looking after a new child.
  • Someone with dyslexia may feel very anxious when faced with reading a web page.

They wanted to avoid the stress and frustration that comes with having to explain their situation over and over again each time they interact with a government department.

We are working with the new social security agency to help them understand the range of difficulties faced by different groups who will contact them, and how to respond in a helpful and empathic way.