Skip navigation

EIF maturity matrix: Maternity and early years


17 Nov 2020

Latest update

14 Sep 2021

The EIF maternity and early years maturity matrix has been developed to support local areas to take a system-wide approach to improving outcomes for children and families. It is a self-assessment tool to support local partners to understand the position on early childhood intervention, identify areas for improvement, and work together to deliver positive change.

Matrix summary – England


Matrix workbook – England


Matrix summary – Wales


Matrix workbook – Wales


Fersiwn Cymraeg – Crynodeb


Fersiwn Cymraeg – Llyfr gwaith



The early years of life, including pregnancy and birth, are critical in determining physical, social and emotional, behavioural and cognitive development in ways that have a lifelong effect on health and wellbeing. Intervening early can reduce risk factors and increase protective factors in a child’s life. This means that maternity and early years are especially important for early intervention to prevent or reduce the negative impacts of problems experienced by a child or family.

EIF has developed two versions of this document:

  1. The short matrix summary includes the criteria for the 10 key elements that make up a maternity and early years system, and a summary of the four domains of early childhood development.
  2. The longer matrix workbook provides more detail on using the matrix in practice, examples of supporting information for the different progress levels, and recording sheets for identifying local barriers to change and priority actions.

EIF support and validation

During Winter 2020/Spring 2021 EIF created a new, light-touch validation process to complement local maternity and early years planning, and offered this to any local area that wanted to use the maturity matrix between 17 November and the end of April 2021.

The areas received:

  • support to gather stakeholder views before starting their self-assessment
  • analysis and validation of their self-assessment
  • a summary report of their baseline and areas for improvement
  • a follow-up discussion with EIF about their next steps.

The timescales for this process were:

This was a voluntary process where the ownership of local conclusions and priorities rested with the local area. EIF’s role was to provide support and challenge, and to give weight to the local self-assessment through a light touch validation process and summary report. The anonymised data collected through the process was also used to assess system maturity across the country.

About the contributors

Ben Lewing

Ben is assistant director, policy & practice, at EIF.

Dr Kirsten Asmussen

Kirsten is head of what works, child development, at EIF.

Robyn Tulloch

Robyn is a project support officer at EIF.