Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Proposed decision –
a. to commence development and co-design of the Family Hub model for Kent in line with Government Family Hub framework for delivery and associated plans.
b. to allocate and spend funding allocated via the Family Hub Transformation Authority for 2022/23 financial year.
c. to delegate authority of expenditure to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services and the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health
• Reason for the decision
Summary: Kent County Council has been successful in receiving Family Hub Transformation Authority status and has therefore received designated Family Hub Transformation Funding.
Further work now needs to commence to begin exploring how the Family Hub model could work in Kent. To align with this, expenditure of funding allocated for Financial year 2022-2023 needs to take place.
Following key decision 22/00094 which relates to the acknowledgement of status and acceptance of funding as part of the Family Hubs Transformation programme, a further key decision is now required in order to allocate expenditure for financial year 2022 – 2023 and commence development activity for Family Hubs.
The Council must take a formal decision to enable this financial year's funding to be allocated and support the development of further proposals regarding future delivery.
Allocation of this initial expenditure will allow further work to be undertaken to develop more detailed and co-designed proposals for delivery alongside proposed allocation of expenditure for subsequent years, which will be subject to governance through normal Executive Decision making arrangements.
• Options (other options considered but discarded)
Do nothing – additional funding to support the improvement of Family Services in Kent will not be able to be utilised failure to make use of this grant may result in it needing to be repaid unless confirmed otherwise by DfE.
Should funding not be utilised for this financial year it could put any future Family Hubs Transformation Funding for subsequent years at risk of non-receipt.
Progress expenditure - of the limited funding allocated for this financial year and utilise it to further develop and progress further exploration of what Family Hub services could look like, including improving access through community outreach and an enhanced digital offer.
Delay – further delivery of Family Hubs Transformation and request for Kent’s delivery timeframes to be pushed back. DfE have outlined that they would not be in agreement, and this may impact future funding and outcomes reporting.
There is also, currently an expectation from DfE that as part of this Transformation Programme, Kent will have opened some Family Hubs by the first half of 2023.
The Council has been notionally allocated to receive up to £10million over three years as part of the Family Hubs Transformation Funding Programme.
The Department of Education (DfE) have specified this funding should be used to develop and scope how Family Hubs could be transformed, incrementally add to existing services, complement existing services and/or offer new services in order to improve services to whole families in Kent, ensuring open access provides a 0-19 years model and children get the ‘Best Start to Life’.
For 2022-23, £2,830,000 Family Hubs funding has been provisionally allocated by the DfE to Kent, with £138,164 of this being capital expenditure. A further £183,000 in revenue funding has also been allocated specifically to begin to undertake preliminary transformation activity during this financial year.
Initial payments of £1.4m from the total year 1 allocation, have been received by the Council in November 2022 and January 2023.
Discussions remain ongoing with the DfE in relation to the remaining funding with further payments anticipated to be received by the Council by March 2023.
Of the initial funding received, £1,3m has been forecasted to be spent by the end of March 2023, and the remainder of year 1 allocation is committed to be spent subject to DfE approval. The majority of this expenditure has been on staffing costs for planning and preparatory work and purchasing of some equipment to support outreach services, where needed.
Due to Family Hub Transformation Programme delays and DfE deadlines extending, spending the allocated funding has been delayed and the Council remain in discussions with DfE around expectations and timelines for monies which are committed but not spent at the end of this financial year.
Work is also underway to extend engagement with key stakeholders including through Parent and Carer Panels to ensure meaningful co-production of Family Hub Transformation activity in line with Family Hub Programme guidance.
As Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, I agree to:
a. commence development and co-design of the Family Hub model for Kent in line with Government Family Hub framework for delivery and associated plans.
b. note and confirm the expenditure, activity and planning for funding already allocated under Key Decision 22/00094, progressed under the delegation to receive and deploy initial funding in accordance with the requirement to develop and explore detailed transformation plans.
c. Note that the implementation of the full range of changes required to transform KCC’s existing provision to meet the requirements set out in the Government’s Family Hub model plan will be subject to future Executive decision-making.
d. to delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services and the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, to take necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into contracts and other legal agreements, as required to implement the decision.
Publication date: 23/03/2023
Date of decision: 23/03/2023
Effective from: 31/03/2023