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MHCLG backs data sharing projects for vulnerable children

06/09/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has allocated £7.9 million to local projects on sharing data to support vulnerable children and families.

Silhouette of young boy against sun

It has announced the distribution of the Data Accelerator Fund for initiatives that will involve councils working with police forces, local NHS services and schools to ensure children and families receive help as needed.

It said the sharing of information will help them to get a full picture of individual families’ needs and the interconnected challenges they face, such as mental health issues, employment and substance misuse.

The move follows previous work as part of the Supporting Families programme in which data sharing was used to identify children at risk of exploitation.

Eddie Hughes MP, minister for rough sleeping and housing, said: “By local services sharing data, expertise and knowledge we can build a more complete picture of what is going on in a family’s life and use this to put in place tailored, wraparound support at an early stage.

“This fund will give local areas the tools to identify and support vulnerable children and families as early as possible and help them to live more positive, fulfilling lives.”

The funding will cover the next two years.

The money is being shared among teams from Avon and Somerset (£997,022), Nottingham, Leicestershire and Doncaster (£525,500), London (966,082), Berkshire (£915,886), Sunderland (£453,029), Leeds and Bradford (£991,816), East Sussex (£280,000), Doncaster and Wakefield (£810,363), Greater Manchester (950,500) and Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk (£679,802).

Local decisions

A spokesperson for MHCLG said it will be up to the councils in the different areas to decide exactly how the money is spent, but the ministry has highlighted the following projects:

  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Police and Manchester Metropolitan University will work together to design a system to share information across public services, so families receive joined-up support.
  • Nottingham City Council, Leicester City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions will work with local schools to identify families experiencing financial problems or facing homelessness, to prevent them reaching crisis point. 
  • Avon and Somerset Police and NHS services, along with local councils, will work to better understand the risks children and families are experiencing, to promote earlier intervention
  • The Metropolitan Police and NHS North-West London will use data from London boroughs in planning and sharing child social care placements.
  • Doncaster and Wakefield Councils will support a local birth cohort study tracking the health of children born in the towns, based on a previous study in Bradford.
  • Sunderland City Council, local NHS services and schools will work together to share information across public services, so children and young people with special education needs receive joined up support. 

Image from iStock, kieferpix

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