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Case study

Pioneering places: Croydon & EIF


25 Sep 2015

From 2013, EIF worked with a network of 20 Pioneering Places, which provided an opportunity to learn and test how EIF might make the biggest difference to the business of delivering early intervention on the ground in local areas around England.

Croydon Council and its partners have a history of innovating to develop new models of delivering early intervention.

They also have some challenges relating to the high levels of need in their local population. They have high rates of violent youth crime, domestic abuse, and more than 500 troubled families to support, to turn around their lives each yearThey also have high levels of obesity, A&E attendance, children in care and on child protection plans, and low levels of immunisations. Their priorities include reducing youth crime and re-offending rates and to improve outcomes in the early years.

EIF support & advice

  • EIF supported Croydon to develop an Early Intervention Strategy for 0-19 year olds through use of EIF tools such as the Early Intervention Maturity Matrix and benchmarking analysis. This for example, highlighted the need for more coherence in approaches across different agencies in the early years sector and to better join up how families experienced services. The benchmarking analysis also highlighted the need to look at early years where some outcome areas were worse than would be expected.
  • EIF supported Croydon to develop a partnership with Queens Belfast and bid to the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) for funding for a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) of their new Functional Family Therapy Service. This was successful, securing £160k for a three year RCT. The research funding and the focus on the programme has given it profile and priority locally, leading to increased investment in the service which will now reach up to 200 families over three years.
  • EIF were a partner in Croydon’s successful Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) Transformation Challenge Award bid to deliver a new integrated approach to services for 0-5s (‘Best Start’). EIF are supporting the commissioning, workforce development and evaluation of this programme. Croydon have built upon their relationship with Queens University Belfast who are now also undertaking the evaluation of Croydon ‘Best Start’ early years work.


Croydon is seeking a robust approach to its work with some of the most vulnerable young people and their families. Working with the EIF has made such a difference in enabling us to bring in resources to undertake a randomised controlled trial which is crucial so we can fully test what works. Without the support from EIF and opportunity to access ESRC funding, an evaluation of this sort would have been very difficult to organise.”
Dwynwen Stepien, Head of Early Intervention Support Service, Croydon