Family Hub and Start for Life Programme

A collaborative IT system for Local Government partnerships 

A safe and robust, cross-partner Case Collaboration and Data Sharing platform. Enabling real-time joint working without the risk of unauthorised data access  

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Delivering innovation and benefits for local authorities, and their Family Hub partners   

The Sentinel Data Management Platform can support the configuration of as many different Portal access-points as needed for each of your Hub partner teams, and your families to use. 
Each Portal is a tailored view or data collection point designed to fit the needs of each user group. Portals integrate with the Data Management Platform, enabling data to be shared in controlled and compliant ways. 
Data can be automatically transferred between the Platform and partners’ case management systems as required. This provides a hybrid, common case management environment, without any of the risks associated from providing direct access to individual partner systems by external users. 


Background to the Programme 

The Family Hubs and Start for Life programme is a national funding package for the period 2022–2025, jointly overseen by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. 
The vision of the programme is to provide families with the integrated support they need to care for their children from conception to two years old (1,001 Critical Days), and to continue this support through whole family working into the start of adulthood. This is to enable parents to establish a firm foundation for their children, from which to meet their full potential in life. 
The investment will enable around half of upper-tier local authorities in England to transform their individual service offers into an integrated family hub model. The programme includes investment for essential services in the crucial Start for Life period from conception to age two, and services which support parents to care for and interact with their children. 
This government’s 2019 manifesto included a commitment to champion family hubs. Family hubs are a place-based way of joining up locally the planning and delivery of family services. They bring services together to improve access, improve the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and put relationships at the heart of family support. 

The challenges presented by the Programme 

The programme’s objective is to join up and enhance services delivered through transformed family hubs in local authority areas: ensuring all parents and carers can access the support they need, when they need it. 
In summary, the programme will:

  • Provide support to parents and carers so they can nurture their babies and children, improving health and education outcomes for all
  • Contribute to a reduction in inequalities in health and education outcomes for babies, children and families by ensuring that support provided is communicated to all parents and carers, including those who are hardest to reach and/or most in need  
  • Build an evidence base for what works when it comes to improving health and education outcomes for babies, children and families in different delivery contexts

During Year One of the programme, there are many expectations for participating local authorities to take necessary steps to ensure successful delivery of the funded services. 

We have highlighted where and how our Data Management Platform is the perfect tool to support the requirements and goals specified within Governments Family Hub Model Framework document:  

  • It delivers a more joined-up approach to the service delivery and ensures functional multi-agency governance arrangements are in place including the voluntary, community and faith sectors as key partners
  • It supports the creation of robust data-sharing agreements and mechanisms which need to be in place as part of the Family Hub data governance structures  
  • It provides regular and consistent data-sharing across the family hub network that feeds into the wider system
  • It ensures consistent and regular data-sharing across the family hub network to inform whole-family working and decisions about the family hub network
  • Agencies delivering family hub services across the family hub network have access to a common case management system (or interoperability between case management systems), allowing accurate whole family case-recording
  • Common assessment and recording processes are in place and based on the Supporting Families Outcomes Framework 
  • Services that are part of the family hub network can share a local theory-of-change and cohort outcomes framework for the population they serve
  • Measurement of family level outcomes through the Supporting Families Programme feeds into local population level outcomes
  • Across the family hub network there is a clear, consistent and aligned process for identifying need and risk, and for providing appropriate support at an early stage within an agreed common assessment approach 
  • An effective multi-agency board owns the family hub strategy across local agencies, including the voluntary, community and faith sectors as key partners
  • It supports regular reviews of the latest evidence base on family hub practice, programme and intervention effectiveness

We already have innovative, industry leading, and collaborative-working solutions in use across many U.K. local authorities in areas such as Supporting Families, Early Years and Safeguarding.   
We have excelled at providing common IT system platforms that enable multiple user groups and partners to work together more closely and share information based on a controlled and compliant framework.  

 Key areas where we can help to deliver your Family Hub obligations:  

  1. Consolidation of cross partner data to create an integrated, whole family picture. All Hub Partners will work from a common, single version of the truth
  2. A Case Collaboration platform, unlimited portal data access points to provide each Family Hub Partner with access to a shared data platform, portals tailored to the needs and access permissions of each user group
  3. Real-time data sharing across partners using the platform, and scheduled data flows to exchange data between the platform and required case management systems   

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Cross Partner Data Consolidation to form a shared, Integrated Dataset

Cross Partner Data Consolidation












  • Proactively collate existing information on events, support measures and outcomes for each family member from across each partner’s systems, to create a Single View of each person 
  • Group each family member to build-up a unified family composition, providing a Single View of the Family   
  • Enable strict access controls to the integrated dataset so that: 
    • A family’s data cannot be accessed by a Family Hub partner unless the Family presents themselves to The Hub in search of support  
    • Select teams can pro-actively access data to help manage quality and provide performance reporting 
    • Select Family Hub Board Mangement Teams can access aggregated dashboards to assess family outcomes and service performance over time 
  • Family Hub partners will have access to correct information enabling increased consideration of a whole family’s needs, driving more appropriate and timely support    

Family Hub Partner Portal

  • Portal access is configured from the ground up, starting with the field-by-field access requirements, ensuring that all users can only access the information they need
  • Portals can be configured as display-only access points or can include data collection forms to create new data collection channels
  • Portal access can be given to Family Hub Teams and, if required, to the families receiving support. This supports a two-way flow of information and nurtures a closer relationship between teams and family members
  • Portals can be setup to include workflow processes to ensure process steps and service initiation is managed in a coordinated manner
Family Hub Partner Portal (1)
Data Sharing

Data Sharing

  • Real-time data sharing across the Family Hub teams using the platform
    • Case notes and uploaded documents can be added and shared immediately 
    • Priority alerts or service support messages can be triggered to appear on other team’s portal screens or to trigger automated emails and text messages 
    • Ofsted inspections: Reports and information are readily available on all families and action plans
  • Two-way scheduled data feeds between the Platform and each partner’s case management system can be configured to support all existing processes and service offerings
  • Data extracts, reports and dashboards can be added for cross agency reporting and statutory returns 
  • Direct integration with other Sentinel applications such as the sector leading Supporting Families Portal provide a seamless data flow between different levels of service provision

Features and benefits 

Core benefits 

  • Increase consistency of the services accessible through the family hub network, within and between local authority areas and partners   
  • Improve the way professionals, services and partners, including the voluntary and community sector, work together   
  • Improved experience for families of navigating services and reduced need for families to ‘tell their story’ more than once
  • Increased efficiency for professionals and services and more effective collaboration, leading to improved support for families    
  • Highly secure cloud environments, with strong access controls (including multi-factor authentication) and multi-layer system / data security
  • Ofsted inspections: Reports and information are readily available on all families and action plans
  • Direct integration with other Sentinel applications such as the sector leading Supporting Families portal 
  • Supporting each partners’ Data Protection obligations as a Data Controller and upholds the controls expected as part of cross-partner Data Sharing Agreements
  • No costly redesign of core systems or existing IT landscapes: the Sentinel Platform sits across any technology that already exists without impacting on it
  • Compatible with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

Removal of data sharing risks: 

Our hybrid solution removes any risks of excessive access to data. All access is configured to meet every partners’ detailed requirements, without presenting more data than is needed. 
There is no need to grant external users any direct access to core Case Management systems which are usually not able to support many different levels of access. 
There is a full audit trial of all user access and attempted access. 

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Family Hub & Start for Life Platform

A secure framework of Portals across your Family Hub Partnership

Sentinel Family Hub & Start for Life Platform flyer

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  • Strict control and monitoring of data quality and completeness
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