Making it count for early childhood services
This press release outlines some of the findings from our latest report on maternity and early years services in England and Wales, based on work with 20 local areas.
A new report from the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), Leading and delivering early childhood services: 10 insights from 20 places across England and Wales, highlights the need to strengthen local capacity for planning maternity and early years services, if ambitions to improve services are to be realised.
The report also identifies how national government can create the conditions for success locally, in particular by building local capacity, removing obstacles, supporting the use of evidence, and raising the profile of maternity and early years services.
Using self-assessments from 20 local areas across England and Wales, which considered the maturity of local early childhood services, the Early Intervention Foundation has shown how service leaders locally are innovating in the delivery of joined-up maternity and early years services. The report also identifies the key challenges that local areas face, and proposes steps which can be taken to make progress on early intervention and achieve national policy ambitions.
Ben Lewing, one of the report authors and assistant director at the Early Intervention Foundation commented: “This is a key moment for early childhood services given the context of deep-rooted inequalities, resourcing pressures and the consequences of the pandemic. Our report celebrates how local areas are responding with passion and creativity, but emphasises how support for local system planning is now needed to support recovery and service improvement.”
The Early Intervention Foundation specifies key features which are at the heart of effective local multi-agency planning for maternity and early years services, including a good understanding of where areas are starting from, clear and inclusive partnerships, and consistent approaches for co-ordinated working and measuring improvement.
The Early Intervention Foundation’s report lays out 10 insights from local practice which are directly relevant to service improvement:
· Drive the quality of local strategic planning
· Plan with the whole local resource in mind
· Get the leadership right
· Support communities to drive change
· Get the most out of evidence-based interventions
· Make multi-agency working work
· Face the challenge of sharing personal data
· Information for families: a right not a gift
· Step up on measuring outcomes and experience
· Build a research practice partnership
The report also highlights the contribution that using evidence can make local decision making and planning and outlines how English and Welsh governments can support evidence use byincentivising use of evidence-based programmes, promoting support pathways, mobilising the What Works Network, brokering relationships with academic partners, promoting the use of valid and reliable measurement tools, and considering how inspection and regulation frameworks could do more to reinforce local use of evidence.
To see the full report and results of the survey with the 20 local areas in England and Wales, visit the EIF website here.
The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) is an independent charity that champions and supports the use of effective early intervention to improve the lives of children and young people at risk of experiencing negative outcomes. For more information, see: www.eif.org.uk
The twenty areas that took part in the EIF maturity & early years maturity matrix were:
· Vale of Glamorgan
· Cheshire East
· Hammersmith & Fulham
· Tower Hamlets