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Early help

Information for organisations who are providing, or are planning to provide Early help services in Leicester.


  • Young carers - We will be jointly commissioning services covering assessments, support planning and personalised support with Leicestershire County Council from April 2021.
  • Specialist youth services - We intend to continue with the current arrangement for support to people who are LGBQT, asylum seekers, and those with ADHD, but will review these services during 2021-22;
  • Specialist family support - We will continue with a reduced arrangement for parenting courses, respite, resources and befriending from April 2021 for one year.
  • Supervised play facilities We intend to continue with the current arrangement for provision of these facilities, but will them review them during 2021-2022.

Where are we now?

‘Early help’ means providing help for children, young people and families through universal and targeted services as soon as problems start to emerge or where it is likely that issues will impact negatively on children’s outcomes.

Early help services can also provide help for families when they are already involved with statutory and specialist services (such as CAMHS and Social Care) as part of a plan to support them to no longer require this level of involvement.

Leicester’s Children’s Trust is responsible for the implementation of Leicester’s Early Help Strategy (go to the Early Help Strategy (PDF) which outlines a multi-agency response, pledges and standards for all partners offering early help services to families.

An evaluation of Leicester’s early help model and our Early Help Offer which also incorporates progress for Leicester’s Troubled Families (TF) Programme phase two (2015 -2019) was published in September 2019. The report also includes an assessment of the impact of the Troubled Families programme on the delivery of ‘early help’ services from a range of partners across Leicester City. This report is in the process of being updated for 2019 – 2021 and will be published in May 2021.

Qualitative data for around 4,000 families receiving early help support highlighted that:

  • average household size was 4.23 people; 36.6% are lone parents with an average of 2 children living in the household; with 8.3% of household members less than 5 years old;
  • main carers tend to be female (60.2%), aged 20–34 (43.6%) and identify as White British (56.2%);
  • there are families in every ward in Leicester who meet at least 2 out of 6 of the ‘Troubled Families’ criteria, Western is the highest ward with 11.1% (467 families) and Knighton is the lowest with 1.5% (62 families);
  • 68% of households (all ages) identified as having an unmet need with employment, education and or training (2,626);
  • 43% of children within these households identified as needing to improve school attendance (1,642);
  • 10% of households are involved in crime or anti-social behaviour (386);
  • 28% of households have experienced domestic violence (1,077) historical or current
  • 39% of households identified as having a ‘health’ problem, in particular substance misuse and mental health (1,510);
  • 57% of parents need help with parenting, housing, managing debt and finances and developing resilience (2,200); and
  • 384 children and young people have self-identified as a young carer with 101 young carer.

Many families present with multiple needs. Our analysis tells us that Leicester’s Early Help Model and Early Help and Prevention Service is an effective, highly valued and innovative service responding to the needs of families living in Leicester:

  • the multi-agency whole family response / key worker approach is crucial and working well;
  • it is highly valued by families and partners;
  • staff have high levels of confidence in effecting change;
  • families are reducing acute needs, making significant progress and becoming more resilient;
  • the majority of families sustain changes i.e. they aren’t re-referred;
  • the impact on social care referrals is significant; and
  • there is positive cultural change to address wider factors such as worklessness.

Where are we going?

Our priorities for the future will be for strategic leads across Leicester to come together to consider how issues can be better addressed collectively to improve outcomes for families in Leicester. This will focus particularly on families with higher needs who are likely to end up needing higher cost services across the system, such as in social care, health and the criminal justice system. We want this to be done through:

  • developing a stronger partnership response to supporting needs and meeting outcomes using a team around the family approach;
  • ensuring that adults make sufficient progress with moving off benefits and into work;
  • providing more support for schools; and
  • commissioning services to respond to demand, in particular to support young carers and improving parenting.

The Early Help Strategy 2020- 2023 was published in June 2020. Go to the Early Help Strategy (PDF).

What this means for providers

There will be opportunities for local providers to tender for specific projects focusing on addressing parenting support, worklessness and targeted youth work.

Other useful information for providers 

Go to which outlines our early help offer, associated documentation and partnership response.


Caroline Tote, Director for Social Care and Early Help: