Early Help Strategy
The strategy will set out how all partners will work together to reform, strategically plan, commission and deliver a range of provision to support.
children, young people and their families at the earliest opportunity. This means providing services at the right time to meet families’ needs and to keep them in control of resolving their issues and problems.
To read the strategy in full or to download a copy click here.
What we do and how we can help
Early Help and Coordination (EHC) support other professionals working with families. This makes sure that a wide range of professionals, from a broad range of agencies are trained and up-skilled to this way of working.
We provide case consultancy to support practitioners involved in complex cases. A complex case is one in which more than one agency is involved and it has been demonstrated via the Early Help Assessment and reviews that the interventions that have been tried to date have not worked and further support is required. These cases are unlikely to warrant more intensive intervention from either a social worker or family partner.
We monitor the quality of Early Help Assessments (EHAs), action plans and reviews and provide support to practitioners if required to ensure they are completed correctly and robustly. Training can be accessed via the learning pool, but we also offer bespoke support to individuals or whole teams should this be required.
We monitor service delivery and the implementation of EHA against timescales and quality standards. This will include audit activity on behalf of the local authority and partners. Where timescales and quality standards are not being met agencies will be contacted to ensure such matters are addressed.
North Tyneside Local Safeguarding Children Board has developed a procedure to resolve professional concerns and disagreements in response to a recommendation from a recent Learning Review.
Additionally see the new Early Help Pathway/ Professional Conversations Framework for Locality Teams.
The Early Help Assessment (EHA)
If you believe a child needs some additional help and support it is important that you and the family you are supporting complete an Early Help Assessment (EHA).
The purpose of EHA is a whole family assessment which helps determine the needs of all family members and therefore, what is required to help the family meet those needs.
The EHA is not about form filling; it is about having a meaningful conversation with a family about their strengths and challenges, working out what they need and pulling in the right people to provide support – a team around the family (TAF).
The EHA is an assessment tool and as such it is not about making referrals or requests for additional services. The TAF approach is one where professionals come together around a family to create a single SMART action plan to which the family and all professionals contribute and help to identify who else might be asked to help. The EHA should not be used to pass families onto another team.
An EHA is not required if there is already a higher level assessment in place e.g. social worker or CAMHS.
Education, health and care plans
An EHA may be suggested for families whose children need additional support.
As detailed in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years, “Partners should consider how they will work to align support delivered through mechanisms such as the early help assessment and how SEN support in schools can be aligned both strategically and operationally.”
Two year old offer
Families in receipt of the two year old offer will be asked to undertake an EHA with their lead worker to ensure all their families’ needs are being met.
Child protection procedures
The EHA doesn’t replace standard child protection procedures which safeguard children from significant harm.
If you have concerns about a child being potentially at risk of significant harm, they must be escalated to:
Social work assessment
Telephone: 0345 2000 109
Email: [email protected]
Return an Early Help Assessment form
Return a completed and signed Early Help Assessment form in line with your organisation’s own information governance arrangements to:
Early help and coordination
North Tyneside Council
Cobalt Business Park
Newcastle upon Tyne
Email: [email protected] (this a secure email account)
What happens next?
Once we’ve received your Early Help Assessment it will be discussed at a weekly case allocation meeting. We will consider the needs of the family and discuss the case with you for any additional support that could be offered. If required, they will also contact the author of the Early Help Assessment to give feedback.
If your enquiry is supported you will receive a telephone call or email to discuss the family in more depth.
However, we don’t undertake the role of the lead worker but provide appropriate support for more complex cases.
The team around the family
Team around the family meetings are an essential part of the early help process.
Key elements of a good meeting are:
- the right people around the table – the family and professionals supporting the family
- a discussion about the needs of the family and how they can be supported
- all people have a chance to speak and are listened to
- a location and time to accommodate the family’s routine
- enough time for the discussion to take place
- an action plan, written and agreed by all parties which clearly shows who will do what, by when
The meeting is normally organised and chaired by the main person (the lead worker) supporting the family for example a:
- health visitor
- family partner
- youth worker
- school nurse
To help lead workers with this process there are a number of template documents below.