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Proving the worth of early help

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Why focus on Cost Benefit Analysis?

In Greater Manchester we have seen first-hand how important a robust approach to evaluation and Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) is in supporting effective decision making, particularly where Local Authorities and partner organisations are investing their own resources alongside national funding. Good quality Cost Benefit Analysis has helped our senior officers and politicians hold their nerve when it comes to investing in early help services at a time when demand is rising for our acute services.

Having a robust evaluation and a strong CBA are critical to the future sustainability of the Troubled Families Programme not only in demonstrating the impact of the programme at national level and helping to influence future Government funding decisions but also in helping local conversations with partners around their own commitments. For example in Greater Manchester we are looking at how whole family working and intervening earlier reduces demand for things like police calls out and how this can translate into cost avoidance and/or savings. This is helping to position Troubled Families favourably when the Police are looking at future resourcing models.

Data analysis workshops

I attended the first of nine regional workshops where Greater Manchester Combined Authority have partnered with Troubled Families Team in MHCLG to help areas get the most from Family Progress Data and the Cost Savings Calculator. I was encouraged by the discussions, and would urge all Troubled Families Co-ordinators to check in with their data analysts who are attending the events about what action is needed. This work isn’t easy;  it can be difficult, for example, to accurately identify the costs of the services provided for your Troubled Families cohort given the complexity of provision and that services may be funded by a number of partners. A strong working relationship and understanding between operational and analytical colleagues is particularly important in getting this right..

This work also needs strategic leadership and we all need to commit to raising its profile.  We don’t have the luxury of time and we need to proactively work together to make a compelling case for early help services. For me this means us seeing the evaluation and Cost Benefit Analysis work as a central priority for the remainder of the programme.

Jacob Botham, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

You can confirm your place through the following Eventbrite links. Data analysis workshops are for Local Authority Troubled Families personnel only. Places are subject to availability.

20 February: North East
1 March:  West Midlands
6 March: London
13 March: East Midlands
14 March: South West
15 March: South East (held in London)

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