Issue details

17/00037 - The HeadStart Programme in Kent

Agreement will be sought from the Cabinet member for Education and Health Reform:


1.      That the HeadStart Kent programme be adopted and proceed  in accordance with the Big Lottery Grant Agreement and as set out in the report

2.      That the necessary procurement exercises be undertaken for goods and services required to deliver the programme.  


3.      That authority is delegated to the Corporate Director of Education and Young People's Services to award the necessary contracts for HeadStart Kent to providers selected through the procurement process and to award the HeadStart Kent grants to selected schools to deliver the Big Lottery Programme Grant Agreement.


Kent County Council is one of six authorities to be approved by the Big Lottery Fund to deliver the HeadStart Programme. A total investment of £9.99m has been secured for HeadStart Kent over the next five years.

The Programme aims to improve the mental health and emotional well-being of at-risk 10 to 16 year-olds and increase their resilience. It promotes an ecological, preventative and early intervention approach.


How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’

HeadStart Kent directly delivers towards KCC’s strategic outcome ‘Children and young people in Kent get the best start in life, in particular by ensuring:

  • resilient and strong communities exist in which to raise young people
  • children and young people have better physical and mental health.


The aim of the HeadStart Kent programme is to improve the mental well-being of at-risk 10 to 16 year-olds in Kent as well as work with 5 other local authorities who have also received investment.  The investment aims to facilitate and support:


·         the implementation of a locally developed, cross-disciplinary, multi-layered & integrated prevention strategy, with the young person and their needs at its core

·         the development of the necessary local conditions to enable that strategy to become sustainable in time

·         the development of a more robust evidence-base around ‘what works’ in the area of mental wellbeing to be proactively shared beyond HeadStart with the aim of contributing to the national and local policy debate.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 06/03/2017

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: David Weiss, Head of HeadStart Kent 07740 184789 Email:


The programme has been based on the learning from young people. Insight work was undertaken with 900 young people, families and stakeholders through workshops, focus groups and meetings. Through this learning we have also worked with colleagues in the field to ensure the elements of the programme are evidence based and fit together as a whole programme. 


The proposed decision of the cabinet member will be considered by the Education and Young People's Services Cabinet Committee on 30 March 2017.  It is proposed that annual updates be provided to the committee on performance and progress


Local members in the following Districts will be particularly affected:


2016     -          Swale and Gravesham

2017      -           Ashford Shepway and Canterbury

2018      -           Thanet and Maidstone

2019      -           Tonbridge & Malling and Dover


Those local members whose divisions are affected more than others have been consulted about the Programme and the feedback has been positive. Further involvement of local members will continue as the programme continues.

Financial implications: The overall combined value of the Big Lottery Funding over five years is £9,989,582. There is a detailed monthly financial plan for the 5 years which is being monitored by The Big Lottery. There are a number of milestones which will need to be achieved quarterly which will enable Kent to continue to be awarded the grant. Failure to meet these milestones will result in the funding being withdrawn. This commissioning process will maximise the return on this investment and realise the benefits of integration with other programmes such as the wider Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health service. A clear specification, procurement and ongoing contract management and service function will ensure that the service delivers the best possible benefits for children and young people and best value for KCC funds. It is requested commissioning support also comes from Public Health.

Legal implications: None

Equalities implications: The Programme has a positive benefit of supporting vulnerable young people with their mental health and emotional wellbeing. An Equalities Impact assessment has been completed by the HeadStart Kent Programme.


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