The aim is to provide intervention at the earliest possible stage that will improve the lives of children, young people and their families. Ideally a CAF is used to identify needs which can be met by services or to identify a 'gap' that, if addressed, would have a positive impact on a family.
The Resource Panel recommends completion of the CAF process if the situation requires one. The application criteria for spot commissioning funds link to the District Children and Young People's Trust and early support priorities for Lancaster. Applications are sent to the Resource Panel, members of which reach a decision via email discussion. The commissioning process allows for up to £2,500 for a child and family or up to £4,950 if a group has been identified.
The application should demonstrate how the spot commission would enhance current intervention. For example, if asking for a nursery place (which is rarely funded from spot commissioning) we would want to see what parenting work is being done with the family and how the nursery place would benefit this. Alternatively, the application might show how the spot commission could prevent escalation. For example, a bicycle was purchased for a young person who was attending a Princes Trust course and whose family (with generational unemployment) had been re-housed out of the Ward. The bicycle enabled him to complete the course and subsequently find a placement in a local organisation. The family reduced their offending and began working towards a more positive future; partner agencies were involved in this long term work and agreed that the bicycle application had helped the family to trust other agencies and work with them.
Applications have included equipment, after-school and holiday provision, membership for activities, access to services (counselling, etc) travel and group work for young people where a common need was identified (and it was beneficial and cost effective to run group activities).
What worked well...
A course for young mums to be: a multi agency intervention, including YPS, CAB, Children's Centre and visiting services. Young parents were referred in from the maternity service in partnership with other agencies. Young mothers were identified if needing additional support. Outcomes included signposting to other agencies and improvement in emotional and physical health through healthy eating and other activities. Children's Centre outreach workers from the locality supported the sessions and were able to develop relationships with the young people, improving engagement with activities at the Children's Centre after their baby was born and continued relationships with group members.
Carpets purchased for a family with health needs. The mother was engaging with services but at risk of being referred to social services, due to her child's health needs, including severe eczema. The family had been re-housed, but the home had no carpets and dust from the bare concrete floor was exacerbating the child's health problems. The Children's Centre worker identified that without carpet the child's health issues could not be improved. The worker successfully applied for funds for carpeting from spot commissioning. This intervention prevented escalation as the medical problem was now under control. The housing service has been informed of the need to revisit current policy around removing all floors covering when tenants leave; this is now being reviewed in Lancaster.
All agencies and organisations that receive spot commissioning funds complete an outcomes form and case study at the end of an intervention or project. The outcomes are identified on the application form and then reassessed on completion of the intervention, enabling unintended outcomes to be identified.
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