London Borough Tower Hamlets 

The Inner London Borough of Tower Hamlets is located on the east of London and includes 20 London wards (increased in May 2014 from 17). The borough contains approximately 324,795 (2019) residents and is projected to grow to 370,700 by 2028. The Council of London Borough Tower Hamlets covers 7.63 square miles and 18 Districts.

The borough of Tower Hamlets struggles with poverty and inequality issues. The child poverty rate is the highest of all the London boroughs, with 56% of children judged to be living in households in poverty, compared to 37% in a typical London borough. The unemployment rate in the borough fell by 4.6% percentage points between 2015/2018 and 2018/2021 to 5.3%. 

Tower Hamlets has seen substantial increases in housing with an average of 420 new affordable, social and other discounted housing completions over 3 years (2016/17 - 2018/19). This is the highest of all London boroughs. 

The Problem

Tower Hamlets needed a way to integrate different case management systems as part of a new data platform and business intelligence suite to address three key objectives.

Firstly, providing a single system for customer contact centers to access the most up-to-date data on individuals and families. Secondly, to improve the ability for their SSF (Supporting Stronger Families) Team to identify those families who are eligible for help under the national Troubled Families Programme (now Supporting Families Programme). Thirdly, to give corporate directors and CEOs models for forecasting service demand.

Tower Hamlets required the ability to integrate data from a wide range of internal and external sources to form comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date holistic views of individuals and the families they belong to. They needed a data driven method of identifying and profiling families who were eligible for support as part of the then national Troubled Families Programme (now Supporting Families Programme).

This would support a Single View of individuals for mainstream services and customer interactions, while also providing an integrated dataset for their Supporting Families team and senior management reporting.


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.

The local authority also needed a way of evidencing the turn-around of families they identify and support. They needed the ability to track their journey and show the progress they make. This evidencing needed to incorporate information from all supporting services and partners, such as social care, schools, NHS and Police records. Without this evidencing the local authority could not receive their funding by proving their progress for Payment by Results (PBR) claims. 

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 provide a fully integrated Web Portal layer which can be configured to provide any number of different, tailored views and applications to access or enrich the data.

As part of the Portal layer, Sentinel have developed a dedicated Supporting Families Portal, which has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the supporting Families Programme.

The result is secure, configurable and versatile IT solution that can meet the many needs of different teams and partner agencies for any local authority. The key features and benefits of this solution are:

  • 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

The Supporting Family solution offers fully configurable eligibility rules, enabling Tower Hamlets to define profiling rules for eligibility according to the requirements of the Supporting Families programme and their own local TFOP (Trouble Families Outcomes Plan) which incorporates the council's own priorities in responding to their family's needs. 

The platform also tracks the cohort’s continuing progress and show where interventions and support services have been successful and where they have not. This allows them to focus resources on the more effective services.  

How they benefited

Tower Hamlets were required to identify families in need of support. Sentinel Partner’s Supporting Family software has enabled them to identify families more effectively in need. The built-in audit reporting provides detailed evidence required for PBR claims and other government reporting requirements. Key tasks were automated, increasing accuracy & efficiency while reducing costs.  

Single View Portal views are available to call centre users to provide immediate access to the key information they need to help support residents when they call with a question or a problem.

The integrated data that has been created to support all of the operational business requirements also provides the ideal data set to base many high-level management reports on, making report writing more efficient and report execution more performant.

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