Publication - Research publication

Summary of Community Planning Partnerships' (CPPs) Early Years Change Fund returns (2012-2015)

Published: 14 Sep 2016

Impact evaluation of the Early Years Change Fund, as recorded by Community Planning Partnerships' in their annual returns (2012-2015).

63 page PDF

571.3 kB

63 page PDF

571.3 kB

Summary of Community Planning Partnerships' (CPPs) Early Years Change Fund returns (2012-2015)
Scottish Government funding

63 page PDF

571.3 kB

Scottish Government funding

As mentioned in the previous chapter, the Early Years Change Fund Return asked CPPs to provide details of spend for early years activity. The template was structured to collect information on each of the funding sources. This chapter looks at the Scottish Government Early Years Change Fund funding provided through the local government finance settlements alone. Within these settlements, specific allocations were made for Family Support and Looked after 2 year olds and funding was allocated on the basis of 50% population, 30% deprivation and 20% rurality:

Funding and spend from local government settlement

  Funding provided to LG finance settlements for 2012-2015 Spend reported by CPPs for 2012-2015*
Family Support £9 million £8,646,563
Looked After 2 Year Olds £4.5 million £5,614,717
Total £13.5 million £14,391,580

* Figures presented in the reported spend for 2012-2015 column in the table above are taken from figures supplied in Annex A in the 2014/15 returns. This asked CPPs to provide 'Actual spend for early years activity 2012-15 (please populate a line for each programme and include information on how the Early Years Change Fund contribution has impacted on the quality of the services you provide, and on the outcomes for children and families in early years over this 3 year period)'.

These figures are approximate as some CPPs were unable to provide precise figures. This was either because the allocations were added to other funding to provide some of the activities, or because an activity was provided within another programme and the relevant spend could not be extracted. Other CPPs provided total spend on their activities which included other funding. In addition, one CPP reported that some of their allocation had been carried forward into the current financial year.

Family Support

Funding was allocated through the local government finance settlements to provide support for the development of co-ordinated and integrated family support including advice, information, activities and services.

The CPPs were asked to provide details of spending on family support and, in 2013/14 and 2014/15, they were also asked to provide details of outcomes: 'what has been delivered by this programme?'

The majority of CPPs returned information on Family Support activity. In a small number of cases, returns indicated that relevant activities have been included within other programmes or that the Scottish Government funding was considered as a whole rather than as two separate allocations.

While all CPPs included some information in relation to one or more years of the Change Fund and Family Support activity, the levels detail provided varied greatly.

How the funding was used

CPPs identified a wide range of local Family Support activities and these are outlined below.

Family Centres: Several CPPs detailed spend on Family Learning Centres in their area. Work included the development of three Family Centres in one CPP area; these aimed to deliver appropriate early support to local parents. Other CPPs allocated funding for staffing and resources in existing local authority or third sector Family Centres. Funding was also used for staff to develop Family Learning Centres in order to improve engagement with families and to facilitate parental involvement. Specific outcomes included:

  • Providing additional group work and outreach services in an area of high deprivation.
  • Addressing issues around domestic violence and anger management.

Family information hubs and resources: several CPPs referred to provision of information for families and parents as well as for professionals. These included: family support and information services; information directories; online information; social media pages; information booklets

Case study: Renfrewshire information provision

Currently Renfrewshire has a Childcare Information Service which supports parents/ carers by providing information on childcare and early education in the local area. In addition, other council services, health and the third sector have a wealth of information and support which is provided in a variety of different formats. The family support funding from the Scottish Government will be used to develop a Family Information Service which will provide a single point of contact for support and easily accessible information for families across Renfrewshire. The Family Information Service will include a Renfrewshire Play, Talk, Read strategy; a parenting strategy; information on mental health issues; and all other information provided by Renfrewshire CPP. Partners from organisations across Renfrewshire are involved in the development of this service.

Support within local authority settings: A small number of CPPs included details of nurture or family learning support provided within local authority settings, predominantly schools and nurseries. This included Angus, where early years funding has been used to develop nurture environments in 30 schools, nurseries and child and family centres: The environment provides dedicated space for staff to work with children and/or parents and also offers an appropriate provision for parent contact arrangements. The provision supports children's social and emotional development & support a positive transition into primary school and beyond.

Home support / Outreach: A small number of CPPs provided detail of spend on home or outreach services. These included additional support into pre-school home visiting services and outreach and support for parents of vulnerable babies/3 year olds.

Case study: Midlothian outreach provision

In year 2 of the fund, Midlothian reported that: The 6 Midlothian Sure Start centres all operate with waiting lists and it was decided to use the monies to employ 2FTE Family Support Workers to deliver outreach work to those families that are on the waiting lists to ensure that they receive services. It has been found that not all families need to attend a centre and often outreach work is sufficient. The waiting lists are more manageable.

In year 3, they reported a major focus on home support: Home Link Family Support gives children and families a positive start in life by providing support in their homes in Edinburgh and Midlothian.

Home Link Groupwork: Provides a range of family support services to establish peer support networks, expand skills, improve confidence and self-esteem with signposting on to parenting programmes and other services. 17 families with
39 children engaged with this service.

Home Link Systemic Family Counselling Service: A unique therapeutic service which recognises a family's strengths and resources to identify strategies to improve children's social and emotional development and health outcomes and strengthens the family bond. 29 families with 72 children engaged with this service.

Home Link Family Support: This service renewed its focus on training befrienders to promote the significant adult role in understanding how to enhance children's learning and development. Befrienders highlighted the critical role of daily routines such as meal times, homework and bedtime as a vehicle for learning: "every day is a learning day". Key outcomes are to improve the parent/carer interactions, giving them a deeper understanding of the child's developmental stages. 68 children from 27 families engaged with this service. In 2013 and again in 2015 Befriending Networks awarded Home Link Family Support the highest rating of Excellence in Quality in Befriending.

Home Link Young Parents Support Service (started January 2015): Home visiting support to young vulnerable parents who are 25 and under with a child under 3 years of age, giving a range of practical and emotional support including preparation for pre-birth and post-birth, promoting parenting skills and increasing parenting capacity, improving attachment between parent and child, promoting play and reading (volunteers trained in play@home and PEEP). Expected outcomes include a reduced incidence of children under 3 becoming looked after and improved access by vulnerable parents to mainstream support services in their community. 6 children from 4 families engaged with this service in the initial three months from January to March 2015.

Family and Parenting programmes: Many of the CPPs had allocated their funding to local or universal parenting programmes. This included refining and developing existing programmes, delivering programmes, purchasing materials and engaging and/or training staff to deliver the programmes. While some of the CPPs simply referred to 'parenting programmes' in general, others gave details of the specific programmes being delivered, including:

  • Triple P and Teen triple P
  • PEEP (Parents Early Education Partnership)
  • Pastoral Support Programmes
  • Incredible Years
  • Mellow Parenting
  • Universal Parenting Programme
  • Five to Thrive
  • Happy Days Programme
  • You & Your Child
  • PoPP (Psychology of Parenting Project)
  • Local programmes included focusses on: kinship carers, pre-birth; fathers; parents with learning difficulties; attachment; parent/child interaction; and CAMHS support

'Soft parenting' support: A small number of CPPs mentioned provision of play or leisure support including a play bus and interventions to promote access to leisure facilities. The main programmes mentioned were 'Bookbug' and 'Play, Talk, Read'.

Meeting specific outcomes: Some CPPs also detailed provision targeted at specific local priority groups or individuals. Examples included:

  • Improving outcomes for young children and their families affected by parental substance misuse and/or domestic abuse.
  • Education and family support for very vulnerable young learners.
  • We have additional support packages of support around 3 young people with complex needs, with a wider multi-agency team in place. The cost of this provision significantly exceeds the £18,255 allocation (Orkney).
  • Families with children under 8 years with a specific focus on families with children 0-3 years.
  • Support to the Young Parent Support Base ( YPSB) - a project which works to keep school aged pregnant teenagers engaged with education (Glasgow).
  • Working with women offenders.
  • Support for geographically isolated families.

Staffing: Many of the CPPs reported that Early Years Change Fund monies had been used to provide additional hours or new temporary or permanent staff, for either general or specific early years support. This included:

  • Early Years workers
  • Family Support workers
  • Education Support Officers
  • Child Protection Officers
  • Programme Managers / Lead Officers
  • Project Officers
  • Community Practitioners
  • Parenting Practitioners
  • Public Health Nurses
  • Research and analysis staff
  • Administration staff
  • Allocations to improve ratios or providing additional support via teachers or health visitors.
  • Additional childcare
  • Additional educational psychology support
  • Floating support worker' employed to work between health, education and social care to provide and co-ordinate support and assistance for families with young children, in order to facilitate access to all available opportunities, which help young children to fulfil their potential (Orkney).

Training: In several CPPs allocations were also used to provide staff development or training or to facilitate sharing practice. Examples included:

  • Training and support for staff around developing positive relationships and the EYC model for improvement (Highland).
  • The resource also supported staff training of 5 staff in baby massage. 3 staff in Early Years Service and 2 staff in Health Service (Clackmannanshire).
  • Multi-agency training.
  • PEEP conversion training.
  • Training to deliver the Incredible Years Pre-school Parenting Programme.
  • Training in the Solihull Approach.
  • Training in baby and infant massage.

Case study: North Lanarkshire Solihull Approach Training

The Solihull Approach is now being adopted as the universal approach across all services. NHS Lanarkshire has invested in training for all their Health Visiting staff and this is now being extended to include other health service staff. Over 100 North Lanarkshire Early Years staff have been trained on the Solihull Approach and is now included in both the Parenting Strategy and the Universal Parenting Pathway for both North and South Lanarkshire. In addition to the foundation training, a range of resource packs are available, including Parenting in both the early years and teenagers, Fostering and Adoption, Breastfeeding, Antenatal and Postnatal.

The approach provides an integrated approach for a range of professionals working with children and families who are affected by behavioural and emotional difficulties, as well as giving professionals a framework to apply to their universal practice with parents.

Other support: Other uses of Early Years Change Fund allocations for family support included:

  • Achieving accreditations such as 'Family Friendly Status'.
  • Capacity building.
  • Ongoing work to continue to identify gaps, develop services and reduce barriers to accessing support through consultation and engagement with parents and partners.

Finally, some of the CPPs summed up the contribution that the Change Fund has made to early years support in their areas, for example:

Perth and Kinross: The general view is that the collective investment in the early years is making a significant difference in improving the health and wellbeing of young children, placing them in a stronger position to gain from learning opportunities and develop the skills required to be become active citizens in the future.

Dumfries and Galloway: Over the three year period the Early Years Change Fund has supported us to maintain and develop a range of statutory and third sector services to deliver supports to our youngest children in targeted areas of need.
In addition to delivering to these most vulnerable families, we have worked with services to refine our targeting, build practitioner skills and improve engagement with parents and families.

Aberdeen: In excess of 500 families have been worked with in the past 3 years via the range of family support projects funded via Early Years Change Fund monies.
We have delivered a consistent range of services which have intervened early and have prevented families moving into statutory services. These services are consistent with Early Years Framework priorities and the Early Years Collaborative Model for Improvement. We can confirm: A substantial increase in the numbers of parents and children in receipt of appropriate targeted support from conception to school age; An increase in parenting confidence and capacity; Overall early intervention and prevention. All staff working in early years deliver on prevention through universal and targeted interventions. If even one quarter of those families' circumstances had meant they had required specialist or statutory services, instead of earlier interventions, it potentially could have saved up to £250,000 per family. (Based on cost of annual residential care placement).

Looked after 2 year-olds

Specific funding was allocated through the local government finance settlements to provide early learning and childcare specifically for looked after 2 year olds. Funding was based on; 20% 2 year old population and 80% 2 year olds living in Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance claimant households.

The initial allocation letter sent to CPPs from the Minister for Children and Young People set out the key aim for this funding: 'that every looked after 2 year old benefits from high quality early learning and childcare; and that where possible work with parents embeds the benefits of formal early learning and child care in the home'.

Most CPPs provided information, again with differing levels of detail, in relation to their spend on, and outcomes for, looked after 2 year olds in their areas. Some, however, commented that relevant activities have been included within other programmes. Others said that the Scottish Government funding was considered as a whole rather than as two separate allocations. This was either for operational reasons or because the numbers of looked after 2 year olds is very small and therefore the CPP does not separate services and costs.

The main focuses for provision of funding for looked after 2 year olds have been on:

  • Ensuring that there are sufficient spaces in nurseries and childcare services.
  • Employing and training staff.
  • Ensuring every child has an individual plan involving integrated services.

Support is being provided both in-home and within nurseries and child care. CPPs are providing a wide range of support to the children, to kinship carers and to foster carers as well as to learning, health and care providers. These services are outlined below.

Individual plans / needs: Ensuring that every child has their own individual support plan which involves integrated services and support. Examples include:

We have identified the individual needs of each looked after 2 year old, and within the context of each child's plan identified unmet needs and commissioned appropriate services to meet those needs. We ensure that a range of integrated supports and services are provided for each looked after 2 year old and their family and that the provision of such services has the desired positive impact on outcomes (Dundee).

Pre-school provision: Creating additional nursery places and ensuring all looked after and kinship care 2 year olds receive 600 hours of early learning and childcare where appropriate. Enabling access to community childminding services. For example:

Angus: Enabled establishment of Service level agreements with private and voluntary pre-school providers to provide places for those eligible 2 year olds. This has provided choice and flexibility of care. Also supported community childminders to provide a service for our most vulnerable 2 year olds where it is viewed this to be the most appropriate type of care to meet the child's needs .

Argyll and Bute: This figure has supported the 'Positive Starts' funding to support families of vulnerable two year olds with community childminding services .

Staffing: The allocations through the local government finance settlements to provide early learning and childcare specifically for looked after 2 year olds enabled CPPs to engage staff to provide a range of services. These included:

West Lothian: Specialist Early Years Family worker and Nursery Officer to support LAC children. Since August 2013, 40 out of 41 eligible LAC children have taken up the service. Outcomes for children have included enabling excellent transitions into nursery for children; good progress in language skills; and good support taken up by parents and carers, especially kinship carers.

Highland: Training of Primary Mental Health Workers ( PMHW) to support video interactive ( VIG) guidance with families. Additional PMHW hours to deliver VIG. Part funding of educational psychology post.

Other support or activity taking place in the CPP areas included:

  • Food and nutrition.
  • Play and other recreational opportunities.
  • Identifying vulnerable looked after 2 year olds.
  • Access to services for vulnerable children in rural areas.
  • Outreach / home support.
  • As part of development of the team, a specialist team ( PACT) has also been developed to facilitate faster permanence processes for babies (South Lanarkshire).
  • Support around transition to permanent care.
  • Adoption support / counselling for children and families.
  • Training opportunities for staff and potential adopters.
  • Respite for foster / kinship carers.
  • Support for private providers of nursery placements for LAC 2 year olds.


Email: Steven Fogg,