Local Area Teams are not just another council team or structure. A key feature of the new model is a step change in the development of multi-agency teams to best meet the needs of communities. Bringing these partners on-board makes the offer made by Local Area Teams much broader and richer. Some of the new roles in the teams are described in detail below.
The Local Area Support Practitioner (LASP) is all about ensuring the right response to what children, young people and families need. LASPs will be visible, named contacts and form strong relationships with key partners in the local areas such as schools, childcare providers, health provision and the voluntary and community sector. They will be regularly seen in these settings and act as a key source of support for families and for the children’s workforce.
They will look to understand what support the various practitioners across the local area need when working with families to get long lasting results, and to balance their responsibilities as lead practitioner with the rest of their work. The range of support from the Local Area Support Practitioner could range from talking through options and providing information, helping assess a family’s needs, to drawing together partners to support families and provide meaningful and escalating support to families and lead practitioners. In some cases they can take on the role of lead practitioner. Before taking on a lead practitioner role consideration needs to be given to need vs cost (financial / social risk of doing nothing) vs the capacity of others.
The Local Area Support Practitioner isn’t about a person who can “take on” all early help cases. They are people who can make the early help system work, get the right levels of creative response and help sustain improved outcomes for families.
Local Area Support Practitioners are expected to be able to work across the 0-19 (25yrs for identified disability) age range but will take on specific age range portfolios where they are expected to have a deeper knowledge. The distribution of these portfolios will reflect key developmental stages, supporting transition and the range of issues identified that affect better outcomes for children.
The Learning and Work Adviser works directly with young people aged 13 to 19 (25 with disability) years old to identify and remove barriers to meaningful education, employment and training. They work with schools, colleges and local employers particularly to support priority groups of young people who are in care, youth justice, those attending alternative educational provision and young people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).
The Learning and Work Adviser will operate in communities through Local Area Teams and also through the new city centre offer for Young People (16+) at Sycamore House. As with the Local Area Support Practitioner the way the Learning and Work Adviser operates escalates in response to need. Working alongside partner agencies they can be part of a package of support for a young person and, where appropriate, can also take on the role of lead practitioner. Before taking on a lead practitioner role consideration needs to be given to need vs cost (financial / social risk of doing nothing) vs the capacity of others.
The Information Officer is there to help all young people, mums, dads, carers and practitioners to understand their options. They have at their fingertips information about all relevant services, groups, activities and forms of support across the city. The Information Officer can provide information and help signpost people to the right support at the right time.
The Information Officer can also provide a “whole picture” view for practitioners of a child or young person’s world. This shows which practitioners are already working with families and the history of service involvement. This can help inform assessments and make joint working much easier and effective.
As well as providing information and signposting, Information Officers are expected to support the delivery of key information duties. For example supporting the delivery of the city centre offer to young people, the Local Offer information, two year old funded childcare, and proactively identifying families for support i.e. NEET, Troubled Families tracking etc.
The Community and Partnership Officer is all about making connections and building capacity. They will work with all local partners to help local groups and services respond to the needs of communities. This could be by supporting groups to access information to help them grow and become sustainable through to providing joint funding or commissioning. From toddler groups, to summer activities, to youth clubs, to parenting programmes and area based packages of family support. It is all about the Community and Partnership Officer really knowing the needs of their patch and playing a leading role in developing capacity to strengthen social and community networks in the area and to reduce isolation.
The Community and Partnership Officer will work to join together the dots of community capacity and resources to best meet local needs. They will look to make strong links between the work of LATs and ward budgets / priorities, school funding, community funding, grants etc.
Where issues need a city wide response the Community and Partnership Officers from across the city will work with the Outcomes and Quality Manager to support larger scale and longer term commissioning / capacity building.
From 1st January 2019 the Young People's counselling service will be delivered through York Mind. Referrals for this service can now be made through York Mind website www.yorkmind.org.uk/refer if you do not have access to the to the internet, or are unable to complete an online form, you can contact York Mind on 01904 643364. Alternatively you can email YPcounselling@yorkmind.org.
As well as providing support and building capacity in partners, Local Area Teams will also directly operate some volunteer programmes. These volunteer programmes are all about building some capacity to create another option in the landscape of support available at an early help level.
The existing volunteer programme will be remodelled in order to ensure it is sustainable and can grow to meet the needs of Local Area Teams. This means the LAT volunteer programme will draw upon the capacity of all other roles in Local Area Teams in different ways. For example front line staff will provide a level of supervision and support to volunteers who may be operating as support or mentors to children, young people or parents.
In addition to the establishment of the LAT volunteer programme the Volunteer Lead will develop a new model for providing volunteers to other service areas; for example: requests for Independent Visitors or Volunteer Advocates. The new model will place the volunteer offer for LATs and these wider services on a more secure and sustainable footing.
Moving towards Local Area Teams represents a huge change to how we work. Ensuring the safe and effective transition from existing practice to the new model will require some additional capacity. The Project Officers will provide some fixed term capacity to support changing how we work in a number of different ways. Work undertaken by the Project Officers will include:
The LAT Practice Manager is focussed on day-to-day management and support for front line practitioners. They are there to support practitioners with their workload, discuss progress, unblock challenges and keep the machinery of early help moving.
The post provides operational management, supervision and support to the Local Area Support Practitioner, Learning and Work Advisers, the Information Officers and some multi-agency staff. They support their staff to ensure quality, consistency and positive outcomes. Acting as a point of escalation they can help to unlock challenges or work with partners that may have become stuck.
They work to make sure that the people they manage have the right skills, knowledge and professional development for their work and future progression. As well as supporting staff across the pregnancy to adult hood agenda they have a deeper operational knowledge in particular age ranges and themes that can be drawn upon by LATs across the city. This gives depth as well as breadth to their work and ensures that across the city there is sufficient operational knowledge and management in place to support staff.
The LAT Service Manager role plays an important role in having complete oversight of a particular Local Area Team as well as leading key priorities on a city wide basis. The LAT Service Manager will need to secure the commitment and involvement of partners in local areas and across the city on the full range of agendas that affect family life. York has a history of working in partnership but there is a clear need to make a step change in how we all work together in order to rise to the challenge of securing good outcomes in the face of changing resources.
The LAT Service Manager brings together partners in each area to agree to shared priorities and commit to working together under a local area outcomes plan. They manage relationships with partners such as schools, the police, health and community leaders, supporting and challenging these as required. They need to change the picture from silo working to working in partnership, from co-location to true integrated working.
The LAT Service Manager will also be the key strategic lead for priority areas across the city. For example one of the LAT Service Managers may have a particular strategic responsibility towards ensuring the early years offer across the city is functioning as it should. Another manager may well take on particular responsibility to draw together the resources and delivery required for the city centre offer to young people.
There is a huge framework of statutory legislation and guidance that underpins the work of Local Area Teams across the 0-19 agenda. Working Together, Children’s Centres, Children and Families Act, SEND Code of Practice, Education and Skills, the Childcare Act, to name a few. The LAT Service Manager needs to make sense of this raft of different requirements and inspection frameworks for their area of expertise and ensure that service delivery is both effective and in line with what is required.
Key questions that the Local Area Teams will need to ask themselves are:
The Outcomes and Quality post is all about getting under the skin of these questions and understanding the impact of Local Area Teams, driving their continuous improvement. They will operate across the city and ensure a consistency of quality to the early help offer.
They will hold an overall city wide responsibility for the Troubled Families programme and ensure that this is embedded within the work of Local Area Teams and partners. Working alongside the capacity provided by the data and systems Service Level Agreement they will ensure that Payment By Results for Troubled Families can be claimed and will meet auditing requirements. This is vital in securing income that supports the work of Local Area Teams.
The Outcomes and Quality Manager will also work with the Head of Early Help and Local Area Teams to commission city wide and build longer term capacity in response to need. This commissioning will tackle common features of early help needs seen across the city.
The Head of Early Help and Local Area Teams has overall responsibility across the city for delivery of the new operating model and the city’s Early Help Strategy. They will take the strategic lead across a number of early help agendas and drive the city wide multi-agency governance arrangements underpinning the work of Local Area Teams. This means engaging with the YorOK Board, the Safeguarding Children’s Board, the Council Executive and Elected Members. In addition they play a key role in ensuring the work of Local Area Teams works in the context of an overall system for children and young people. This means how it works in relation to statutory level social care interventions, education, SEND and to the wider agenda of the council and of multi-agency partners.
They will support the management team to create the right environment for Local Area Teams to deliver positive outcomes for families. Working alongside senior management in multi-agency partners they will work to secure the resources and commitment needed to realise the long term aspirations of Local Area Teams.