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Supporting Families

Supporting Families Programme Solution

Automated integration and management of data to transform early intervention

Our Supporting Families Solution has been specifically designed to meet the requirements of the Supporting Families Programmes to help identify and support vulnerable families.

Our solution is based upon our Data Integration Platform, so tackling the key issue of how to create a fully integrated dataset to measure family eligibility and Payment by Results (PBR) criteria against.

Our innovative software quickly and automatically brings together all recorded information on events and incidents, plans and outcomes from all available data sources (yours and your partners). It combines everything to form a single, holistic view of your families, including all their complex issues and dependencies.

You have the information you need in a single, secure location, to help you understand who should be attached to the programme.

We provide automated profiling rules to constantly measure your families' issues against your eligibility criteria and monitor their progress against your PBR criteria, showing the latest position of where each family is and how they are progressing. When the time comes for PBR claims, you have immediate access to a full chronological audit trial to support your submission.

We constant monitor DLUHC requirements to ensure our solution meets all current programme needs and those for future phases as they are announced, to ensure that any early adopters across our client base can respond to the new requirements in good time (as is the case for Liverpool City Council and Phase 3).

With our flexible software and agile approach, we can implement new systems for clients in as little as four weeks. Where appropriate, we can also provide ‘Proof-of-Concept’ free trial periods to help new clients to get started on their data transformation.

Identifying and supporting families who need to turn their lives around is challenging for local authorities and their partner agencies.

The most immediate problem is inaccurate, fragmented data, with incomplete or inconsistent information failing to present a clear picture. Vulnerable families can be missed and stretched resources misdirected. Critically, those families who need help the most, may not receive it early enough to make a difference.

Sentinel’s Supporting Family Data Platform is successfully enabling local authorities to overcome these issues and become data driven, transforming their programmes and enabling earlier, appropriate intervention.

Our software matches and integrates data from all available sources to provide up-to-date, holistic and user-friendly views of individuals and family units. The secure and compliant data sharing features of the platform also facilitate collaborative and proactive working across teams and partners.

By providing fully configurable technology, we put you in control of setting profiling criteria and defining the scenarios that trigger automatic alerts, so you can deliver the earlier interventions that families need.

With our agile and configurable approach, we are constantly meeting the evolving requirements of the Supporting Families Programme (previously Troubled Families). We help our clients to dramatically improve their standing on the DLUHC Data Maturity Model, so spending less time and resources on trying to manage data and more attention on delivering better targeted services.

Examples of our Supporting Families data projects

Supporting Families Programme Background and Phase 3 (2022-2025)

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 - MHCLG).

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 challenge for local authorities was to identify eligible families. By its very nature, the programme’s aim to improve outcomes for families with multiple problems means that working and support provision needs encompass multiple teams and partner agencies, with data being collected and managed in a vast number of different systems and databases. This data also needs to be enriched with DWP data on benefits and universal credit.

Information needs to be collected multiple 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 families that do qualify for the programme, continual monitoring of their needs and progress is required to measure progress and outcomes.

Local authorities must evidence the turn-around of families they identify and support and need 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 a local authority cannot receive their funding by proving their progress for Payment by Results (PBR) claims.

In April 2022, Phase 3 of the Supporting Families Programme was announced which takes effect in October 2022.

In the 2021 Budget and Spending Round an additional £200 million investment was announced to expand the programme. This represents around a 40% real-terms uplift in funding for the programme by 2024-25, taking total planned investment across the next three years to £695 million.

Phase 3 programme brings new data challenges in the form of a new, nationally prescribed Outcomes Framework that all authorities must align to. The new Outcomes Framework details the 10 new Categories of family need and what scenarios are included in each, replacing the 6 categories that went before. It lays out the eligibility criteria by which families must be measured against this framework, and how they must show evidence of at least 3 different categories of need.

The complexity of the scenarios in the new framework is higher, requiring more subtle and sophisticated analysis and profiling than previous phases. For most authorities, the volume of required source data is greater than has previously been collated, especially in areas such as Health, regional deprivation, and Early Years child development.

Click here to view the latest updates from DLUHC about the Supporting Families Programme Phase 3 (2022-2025).

This new phase of the programme has two key objectives:

  • To see vulnerable families thrive, building their resilience by providing effective, whole family support to help prevent escalation into statutory services.
  • To drive system change locally and nationally, working with local authorities and their partners to create joined up local services, able to identify families in need, provide the right support at the right time, and track their outcomes in the long term.

Key changes Phase 3 of the Supporting Families Programme includes:

  • A new outcomes framework including ten headline outcomes rather than the previous six. This will enable more detailed reporting on the problems families are facing, clarify what good looks like for these outcomes, and what levels of evidence would be expected when measuring these outcomes. This new framework will help build consistency of outcome measurement across the country and give clearer guidance to local authorities on what is expected, but also what is possible.
  • An updated funding formula, now using the latest deprivation data and more recent population data. The formula now includes the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation which provides a better reflection of current need and supports levelling up by ensuring funding is distributed fairly.
  • A new process for local authorities to apply for Earned Autonomy status has been launched. A prospectus sets out the level of maturity local authorities and their partners will need to demonstrate to move to Earned Autonomy status.
  • A refreshed Early Help System guide has been published following collaboration with local authorities and other government departments. The refreshed version improves on the content and clarity of the self-assessments and works to encourage local transformation in line with the descriptors.

Here at Sentinel, we have a strong track-record of providing effective, targeted, solutions and assisting local authorities and partner agencies succeed in delivering support services under the Supporting Families Programme. From the earliest Trouble Families Programme Phase 1, through to the current 2022-2025 Phase 3 of the Supporting Families Programme, we have partnered with local authorities of all sizes and types to provide the technology and tools they need to identify and deliver support to the families that need it most.

Our Supporting Families Solution was developed specifically to meet the requirements of the Supporting Families Programme and continues to underpin the success of our clients

such as Liverpool, Birmingham City Council, Devon, St Helens, London Borough Tower Hamlets and more.  

We also have a range of complimentary portal solutions (that are based on the same Data Platform) to satisfy the business and data needs of Early Years Child Assessment and Early Years Education Funding requirements.

Powerful, flexible, forward-looking technology for your Supporting Families programme

Our Supporting Families Solution, based on our Data Platform, ensures that the information you need is always at your fingertips. Further features include:

  • Family-overview and drill-down screens that show you a full, chronological picture of issues, events and outcomes across the whole family and for each family member
  • A single point of access for improved data sharing and collaborative working
  • Configurable rules to validate and merge people’s data
  • Configurable rules to manage your eligibility and PBR criteria, tailored to the systems and data that you have available
  • Automatic data profiling to identify all potential families in need and provide early help
  • Maximised family attachments and PBR claims bringing increased income
  • Automatically prepared Government returns, evidenced by a full chronology of events and outcomes
  • Full access to all data in the platform, for clients to connect any third-party reporting utility

Take a look at our case study

See how our early intervention data software is supporting the Liverpool Families Programme.

Read more

Accelerating local authorities' progress to data maturity

Recognising the importance of data in identifying and responding to local needs, MHCLG (now DLUHC) has developed its own Data Maturity Model to guide local authorities.

Highlighting six key elements, it helps local authorities to understand where they are now and where they need to get to.   

The Sentinel Data Platform underpins all six elements, helping local authorities make faster progress to data maturity and optimise their approach to delivering Early Help for families.


MHCLG's Data Maturity Model.

Related Content

Troubled Families, Data Hub

For more information

Sentinel Brochure