Alun Davies, Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services
We are today publishing the interim evaluation of the work in the seven pathfinder local authority areas to test the Early Intervention, Prevention and Support Grant. We are also confirming the future direction of the grant over the remainder of this Assembly term.
We would like to thank everyone who has played a crucial role in the pathfinder local authorities and helped to develop and test the Early Intervention, Prevention and Support Grant. This has involved a great deal of commitment from local authorities and stakeholders and we are united in our commitment to improve outcomes for individuals and communities who benefit from services funded by this grant.
Over the course of 2018-19, we tested a new way of working in seven local authorities and at a public service board level. The aim of this work was to bring together a number of grants to strengthen the ability of local authorities and their partners to deliver preventative services focused on early intervention for those in the greatest need.
The interim evaluation demonstrates the potential for improved outcomes arising from better integrated services. Planning, commissioning and delivering services which reflect the complexity of people’s lives and the inter-relationships between their support needs must be the right approach. It is only a few months since the pathfinders began their work the direction of travel looks promising.
The evaluation has highlighted a variety of views about the opportunities for alignment between the grants included in the pathfinder arrangements. There is a natural alignment between the housing-related grants which form part of the Early Intervention and Prevention Grant and a similar alignment between the non-housing-related grants. The interim evaluation does show that some of the pathfinders have managed to align both these areas and further investigation will be needed to see if and how this could be replicated across all local authorities.
After carefully considering the results of the evaluation, we have decided we should split the Early Intervention and Prevention Grant into two, separating the housing-related grants from non-housing elements for all local authorities.
Consequently, from April 2019 we will move ahead with establishing a Children and Communities Grant, encompassing Flying Start, Families First, the Legacy Fund, Promoting Positive Engagement for Young People, St David’s Day Fund, Communities for Work Plus and Childcare and Play.
We will also introduce a single Housing Support Grant encompassing Supporting People, Homelessness Prevention and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement.
These arrangements will remain in place for the remainder of this Assembly term and will apply to all local authorities in Wales. They will be carefully monitored and evaluated to ensure the concerns raised by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee and the Wales Audit Office are addressed.
We believe that this approach has a number of advantages. It will allow us to work with all of our partners to ensure that the crucial services are integrated as effectively as possible and it will ensure that we are able to consider fully the evidence and recommendations emerging from recent committees and reviews. The future of these grants will be determined by the evidence of the outcomes for the people and communities in Wales.
We will continue to work in partnership with local authorities and our wider stakeholders, including by providing support to the non-pathfinders, to take forward the new arrangements to emphasise the importance of early intervention and prevention.
The interim evaluation report is available at https://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/evaluation-flexible-funding-programme/?lang=en