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EIF report

Supporting Families feasibility reports

This series of evaluation reports presents findings from four feasibility evaluations that were conducted to develop the evidence on effective approaches within the Supporting Families Programme. Four feasibility studies were conducted, three on psychologically-informed keyworker practice and one on joint whole-family working between Early Help practitioners and housing providers.

Evaluation of Greenwich’s Family and Adolescent Support Service (FaASS) practice approach


Evaluation of the clinical support provided to Islington’s Bright Futures team


Evaluation of Rotherham’s systemically informed Edge of Care team


Evaluation of the provision of data via Transform Data View (TDV) to housing officers in Somerset



The evaluations were designed to answer the following feasibility questions:

  1. Evidence of feasibility: Is the approach being delivered as intended; and what are the enablers and barriers to delivering the approach?
  2. Evidence of promise: What are the potential benefits of the approach for families, practitioners and the wider service; and are there any unintended consequences?
  3. Evaluation feasibility: What is the most feasible way to evaluate the approach; and which outcomes are critical to measuring impact?


The evaluations adopted a mixed-method approach which involved:

  • analysis of administrative data
  • surveys
  • interviews
  • observations.

Two evaluations (Greenwich and Rotherham) also included a pilot of outcome measures.

Key findings

The three feasibility studies on psychologically-informed keyworker practice (Greenwich, Islington and Rotherham) demonstrated that these approaches were feasible to deliver and showed promising evidence of positive outcomes for practitioners and families. Although the evaluations were not designed to detect causal impact, they did provide important learning on how robust impact evaluations could be undertaken on similar approaches.

The study on whole-family working between Early Help practitioners and housing providers (Somerset) found that although there are signs that this approach could be beneficial for families and staff, there were no current viable opportunities for testing this approach.

Conclusions and next steps

There are a number of core components of a psychologically-informed keyworker approach which the studies identified as feasible to deliver, positively received by practitioners, and which appeared to be contributing to positive outcomes for families. These included:

  • high-quality accredited training in systemic practice (with refreshers) for keyworkers.   
  • hired, trained clinicians embedded in Early Help teams (or equivalent) to deliver reflective practice sessions to keyworkers.   
  • clinicians providing ad hoc support in systemic practice and use of tools on a one-to-one basis with keyworkers.  

The elements suggested above are consistent with elements present in other models which have good evidence for their implementation and effectiveness. Further work was undertaken by WWEICSC in 2022–2023 to research the components in more detail to inform future evaluation of the psychologically-informed key worker approach. This included researching the prevalence of components in Early Help services in English local authorities, providing detail on how the core components could be implemented, and piloting the core components in an Early Help service. These resources will be published in May 2023.  

The annexes for the four evaluation reports are available below:

About the authors

Helen Burridge

Helen is a senior research officer at EIF.

Naomi Jones

Naomi is an EIF associate.

Dr Ian Moore

Ian is a research officer at EIF.