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Redesigning the pre-birth to 5 system: Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster and the EYTA


21 Nov 2019

Justine May, head of transformation and innovation for bi-borough children's services, covering the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council, reflects on their involvement in our Early Years Transformation Academy (EYTA), as the programme reaches the halfway mark.

For more blogs from participating EYTA areas, see also: 

Why did you decide to participate in the EYTA?

We see participation in the academy as a catalyst to support us developing a coherent pre-birth to 5 strategy based on local need, system strengths and ‘what works’. It provides us with an opportunity to collectively redesign and implement a robust pre-birth to 5 system, focusing on how vulnerable families are identified at a local level and harnessing both technology and the local community infrastructure to improve the life-chances of children and young people.

Our aims are to improve the way in which need is identified at a local level; to focus on the communities where needs are highest to improve long-term outcomes; to enable a focus on our areas of need by harnessing the power of technology, community and partnership workforce; and to focus on speech and language, and school readiness.

The EYTA offers us an opportunity to strengthen our approach to the way in which evidence is used – both to inform our strategic direction and commissioning strategies but also to consider how it is used effectively to inform practice.

What has been hardest?

  • Establishing and developing professional trusting relationships to enable partnership working, and agreeing a definition of school-readiness and a whole-system approach to change.

  • Gaining consensus from the entire team regarding the key priorities for work. 

  • Securing consistent EYTA representation from our colleagues in local midwifery services; and  

  • Balancing day-to-day work demands with the 12-month intensive programme.

What have you learned so far?

The EYTA offers a range of tools, techniques and theory to allow teams to provide a coherent response to local issues, an investment in the longer term, an opportunity for leadership development, and an independent lens to support service redesign.  

Being part of the EYTA as a cohort of five local authorities also provides us with a vehicle to review, scrutinise and challenge how other 0–5 services operate, in rural, urban, coastal and inner cities – all with different challenges and service delivery models. This provides opportunities for external input and evaluation to help inform our thinking and future approaches. 

Where have you made most progress?

We have:

conducted service-mapping and gap analysis of pre-birth to 5 with stakeholders across health social care, early years education and the voluntary sector

agree five pre-birth to 5 outcomes, shared by all, which inform priorities across the local system and are used as a common evaluation tool enabling everyone to assess the impact of their interventions on the system as a whole 

created an outcomes framework and early years dashboard, shared by all, which informs priorities across the local system and is used as a common evaluation tool.

What is your number one priority to achieve by the end of the programme?

We are aiming to have a blueprint for pre-birth to 5 pathways that establishes a model for a graduated offer, to inform service recommissioning agreed across our partnership.