The early help offer for families is our response to the government’s national Troubled Families programme aimed at helping families to overcome multiple and complex problems; and improving their lives.

We work closely with partner organisations to ensure that services are more joined up.

This will make it possible for us to:

  • identify families who are eligible for help and support
  • ensure services across a range of organisations are coordinated and focused on families with the most pressing and complex needs
  • participate in local and national research to assess how well the programme is working in delivering better long term outcomes for families and in making services more effective.

About Early Help for families

Families with a range of problems often struggle to get the right help and support at the right time.

To address this, we are working across organisational boundaries with partner organisations to ensure that families in need of additional support receive coordinated help and support when it is most needed.

For this reason, with the help of our partner organisations, we are identifying families experiencing at least two of the issues listed below so that early help can be offered to those with the most pressing needs:

  • parents or children involved in crime or anti-social behaviour
  • children who have not been attending school regularly
  • children who need help: children of all ages, who need help, are identified as child in need or are subject to a Child Protection Plan
  • adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion or young people at risk of worklessness
  • families affected by domestic violence against women and girls
  • parents and children with a range of health problems.

How we assess families eligible for early help

To assess those eligible for early help, personal information is shared with partner organisations to understand which families experience two or more of the issues listed above.

In addition, we and/or our partner organisations directly refer families who will benefit from coordinated support.

Only the minimum necessary information is shared on a ‘need to know’ basis.

A list of the partner organisations working with us include:

  • health
  • schools
  • police and probation services
  • housing
  • local Job Centre Plus.

Following identification those families with the most pressing needs will be asked to join the programme.

National and local evaluation

Personal information will be used to evaluate how successful and effective the programme is at both local and national level.

This is the case whether or not a family has been asked to join the programme.

National evaluation

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is responsible for supporting families and improving services they receive from local authorities.

By carrying out this research, MHCLG aims to find out:

  1. How well services for families with multiple problems are working across England
  2. How those families use public services and what benefits they get
  3. The costs of providing services to families with multiple problems

To do this, MHCLG wants to link information about your family with past and future information on your use of public services and your benefits.

MHCLG will use your personal information

  • name
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • last known address
  • National Insurance number (if known).

You may or may not currently be receiving a service to help you deal with your problems.

Please note that any information you provide will not be used to make any decisions about what benefits you get, or services you use, now, or in future.

The national departments involved in this evaluation are:

  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – to see what benefits you have received and whether you have been employed
  • Ministry of Justice (MOJ) – to see what contact you may have had with the criminal justice system
  • Department for Education (DfE) – to see when your child has been in school, how well they are doing at each Key Stage and whether they are a Child in Need.

MoJ, DWP and DfE will not keep your name on file for longer than a month and will not keep records showing you were part of this evaluation.

Personal information linked for research purposes at national level will:

  • be strictly confidential and kept securely to prevent any unauthorised use
  • be de-identified after it has been linked so as to limit any chance of families and individuals being re-identified
  • your name, date of birth, gender, address and National Insurance number will be kept separately from all the other information
  • not be used for making decisions about families or individuals
  • not be shared back with the local authority
  • all personal information held by the ONS for this research will be destroyed by December 2022. The personal information held by DWP, MoJ and DfE will be securely destroyed after a month.

The MHCLG will only receive information about the local authority results of this national research in anonymised form and any reports published by the DCLG will ensure that families and individuals are not identifiable.

To legally share data for this research, local authorities and MHCLG will rely on the Digital Economy Act 2017.

The collection of personal information by MHCLG for this project is compliant with data protection legislation and processing of personal data is for the following reasons:

a. Lawful basis for processing personal data under Article 6 GDPR - (E) Public task
b. Additional condition for processing special category data under Article 9(2) GDPR
c. The DPA 2017 will provide a lawful basis to process criminal offence data (as required by Article 10 GDPR)

Local research

If we decide it's necessary to supplement the above national research and this involves personal information, this will be carried out in line with the safeguards listed above.

Statistical analysis may also be undertaken from time to time using only anonymised information.

General information

We share your personal information only for the reasons set out above, unless the law requires or permits us to share it for another reason, for example, this is necessary to protect you or others from harm.

Your personal information will be handled securely, strictly on a 'need to know' basis only by those specifically authorised to do so and will not be kept longer than is necessary.

Your rights

You can talk to Lambeth about whether your data is being used for this project without it affecting your legal rights or routine care.

You can also see copies of all the data MHCLG hold about you and ask for it to be corrected or deleted.

You can email infogov@lambeth.gov.uk.

You can also contact MHCLG’s Knowledge and Information Team about seeing your data or withdrawing from the research by emailing MHCLG’s Data Protection Officer at dataprotection@communities.gsi.gov.uk.

Further information about the Troubled Families initiative can be found on GOV.UK.