Birmingham Children’s Trust

Birmingham Children’s Trust (BCT) is owned by, yet independent from, Birmingham City Council.

BCT work with over 10,000 children every day across services including Children’s Advice and Support Service (CASS), Emergency Duty Teams, Early Help, Family Support, Youth Offending, Children in Care, Care Leavers, Adoption and Fostering. Birmingham Children’s Trust works with the most disadvantaged children and young people of Birmingham with care and compassion to listen to what they need. Their services are structured in a way that means they can adapt for what’s right for every person.  

The Problem

BCT required an efficient and effective way of identifying and supporting thousands of families across the city as part of their obligations under the national ‘Troubled Families’ programme (known since 2021 as the ‘Supporting Families’ programme). 

The Supporting Families Programme is administered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (or DLUHC, formerly the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government).

Click here to view the latest updates from DLUHC about the Supporting Families Programme.

The original Troubled Families Programme was the first national, systematic approach to driving real change in outcomes for families with multiple problems and to change the services that worked with them. Under this programme, each local authority was assigned a target number of families to identify, work with and support.

The first challenge for any local authority is in the identification of eligible families. By its very nature, the programme is aiming to improve outcomes for families with multiple problems that are supported by multiple teams and partner agencies, with data being collected and managed in a huge number of different systems and databases.

Information needed to be collected from each of the many data sources, matched together to form a complete view of every family member and then rolled up into family compositions. These family compositions then need to be profiled to assess their levels of need and confirm if these needs match the requirements defined by the national programme. For those families that do qualify for the programme, continual monitoring of their needs and progress is required to measure outcomes.

All of this big data integration and profiling needs to be done in an automatic and reliable way, so that the local authority teams and their partners can focus their efforts on those who are in most need their help.

The challenge is daunting enough for any local authority, but for one the size of Birmingham, the task is massive.

How we solved the problem

Sentinel’s industry leading Data Integration Platform has the flexibility and capability to integrate, transform and profile extremely large volumes of complex data consistently and compliantly from any data source. Onto this, we have developed our Supporting Families Portal, which has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the supporting Families Programme.

Sentinel Partner’s resulting Supporting Families solution:

  • Allows data to be integrated from any council systems, and any partner agencies such as the Police, NHS and central government departments such as the DWP
  • Any number of data sources can be merged together
  • Data is matched to produce a complete picture of each family member
  • Each family member is then matched into the family they belong to
  • Our in-built data profiling functionality provides a fully flexible and automated method of measuring each families’ circumstances against eligibility criteria for the programme
  • Eligible families are highlighted to the team as soon as they cross the threshold. The profiling criteria and thresholds are fully configurable, allowing the council teams to adapt to the requirements of each phase of the programme
  • The council team can choose which families to attach and work with, and a Supporting Families Case is created automatically by the system for each attached family
  • The solution continues to track incidents, events and outcomes for all families, along with monitoring the support services provided
  • The solution builds up a longitudinal view of family progress and highlights those families who are eligible for Payment by Result (PBR) claims
  • All output for the DLUHC National Team is supported by the system, including PBR Claims and audit reports, plus any national submissions such as the FPD Report

BCT implemented Sentinel’s Supporting Family solution early in the national programme, and have extended the scope of Data Sharing to include many dozens of different data feeds.

Due to the sensitivity of the information involved, shielded record controls and very strict access rights were an integral part of the solution. Information is only shared on a very controlled, need-to-know basis.  

The benefits of using our data platform

BCT have successfully used Sentinel’s Supporting Families solution from Phase 1 of the national programme, enabling them to meet all central government targets. 

The solution has been extended and enhanced several times to meet all national and Local Government’s requirements and objectives for subsequent Phases of the programme.  

As a result of using our technology, BCT can identify more families in need, regardless of whether they are already working with the family or not. The BCT team can confirm the eligibility and PBR status of more families for the programme with greater ease. Many of these families are now funded, with successful outcomes, achieving significant and sustained progress. 

Through automated data processing and profiling the BCT view of eligible families was up-to-date and comprehensive. The solution has also enabled the local authority to:  

  • Evidence successful support provision, progress and outcomes to support payment by result claims (PBR)
  • Enabled more effective working and greater success in reaching the programme targets
  • Increased revenues by being able to identify more eligible families, targeting support services and streamlining the PBR process
  • Share data with Birmingham City Council for more complete and accurate information

The local authority has gone on to work with Sentinel to share this data across other council teams and partner agencies.  

Transform data use in your organisation

Book your free data assessment today, and find out how much of an impact Sentinel's data management tools can have on your business.

  • Strict control and monitoring of data quality
    and completeness.
  • Built using a the ICO's "data protection by design"
  • Trusted by public sector organisations and local authorities.
  • Experienced, dedicated team of data integration and data sharing specialists.

Take the hassle out of data management. Call us on +44(0)800 612 2116 or send us an email [email protected].