Agenda item

Family Hub Contract

      Report of the Chief Executive



Cllr Laura Mayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Education, and Skills, introduced the report on the Family Hub Contract.


A visual was shown to the meeting to help explain the proposals. A well attended Member briefing had also been held on Family Hubs and a lot of consultation had been undertaken with families.


There had been a move from central government, and within Wiltshire Council to change how services were provided. Previously, the Council had Childrens Centres which offered support to families from the ages 0-5. A mass of other support was available for families, but the aim was to bring that under one roof. In conjunction with the government push and the Council’s own initiative the family offer was one that would offer support from ages 0-19 and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) up to the age of 25.


The team realised that there was an enormous amount of support out there, but there was often confusion as to where to go for help at the initial stage. Feedback highlighted that the majority (around 60%) of families would like to go online. After the initial online stage, a ‘Navigator’ would be present at hubs, signposting families to further support, this would be a commissioned service.  The hope was that people would not then need to be referred to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). Family Services always felt prevention was very important, giving families support when they needed it, so that issues could be resolved early.


Hubs would bring together a range of support services and would bring a more joined up, simplified approach. The hubs would be set up in community buildings across the county, the locations of which could be seen in the report.


Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure, Libraries, Facilities Management, and Operational Assets was delighted with the approach.


Cllr Graham Wright, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, related comments from Cllr Jon Hubbard, Chairman of Children’s Select Committee (CSC), on the proposals. Cllr Hubbard had stated that CSC had received a great presentation on the proposals, and whilst it was an ambitious project it was a great step in the right direction. The CSC would follow the tendering and implementation process and would continue to follow up the project with interest.


Cllr Ian Thorn felt this was a welcome initiative. Cllr Thorn asked some questions regarding why the ‘Navigator’ was called that and how often a ‘Navigator’ would be present at libraries or hubs. He also highlighted concerns regarding the online offer as not everyone had digital access and also the disposal of estate buildings, such as former Children’s Centres.


In response Cllr Mayes explained that it was envisaged that ‘Navigators’ would be present at hub locations about once a week. All staff at hubs would be trained to make every contact count, so that they could signpost to help when the ‘Navigator’ was not present.  Regarding the online offer, most younger people accessed information digitally, but those without access would be supported and there would be physical locations that people could go to access help. The estate buildings would be repurposed.


Cllr Mayes, seconded by the Leader, proposed the recommendations as per the report.




That Cabinet:


1.    Approve the commissioning of family hubs across Wiltshire from April 1st, 2024.


2.    Approve that all services are commissioned externally through an open procurement, with a 5-year contract awarded to the successful provider, with the option to extend for up to a further 2 years.


3.    Approve the Pathfinder project in Westbury and Warminster transferring into the new contract when it commences on 1st April 2024.


4.    To delegate authority to approve and award a new contract, and take all necessary steps associated to the Corporate Director Resources and Deputy Chief Executive, and Corporate Director of People in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills.


Reason for Decision:


To deliver a 0–19-year-old (up to 25 years for those with SEND) Family Hub

Service across Wiltshire.


The Government has committed to championing family hubs, which are a way of bringing together existing family help services to improve access to services and connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and

putting relationships at the heart of family help.


Family hubs bring together services for families with children of all ages (0-19)

or up to 25 for this young people with special educational needs and disabilities

(SEND), with a great Start for Life offer at their core. They can include hub buildings and virtual offers, but the following principles are key to the family hub



·       More accessible

o   through clearly branded and communicated hub buildings, virtual offers, and outreach.

·       Better connected

o   family hubs drive progress on joining up professionals, services, and providers (state, private, voluntary) – through co-location, data sharing, shared outcomes, and governance. Moving from services organised for under-fives to families with children of all ages reduces fragmentation (even though an emphasis on early years and the ‘Start for Life’ offer will remain).

·       Relationship-centred

o   practice in a family hub builds on family strengths and looks to improve family relationships to address underlying issues.

Supporting documents: