Prospectus for local expressions of interest (EoIs)

Ministerial foreword

Dear Colleagues,

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen inspiring examples of local partnerships across the country supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Councils and their partners have coordinated unprecedented support efforts, local communities have established mutual aid groups to look out for their neighbours, and the ‘Everyone In’ scheme has seen thousands of rough sleepers helped into temporary accommodation.

Born out of crisis and conceived in the absence of any time or precedent, this concerted effort has earnt its place in history as a time when the nation came together to achieve the remarkable.

It is now incumbent upon government to maintain momentum and continue strengthening the partnerships forged during these extraordinary circumstances. In doing so, we will improve the long-term outcomes of the most vulnerable people in our society and ensure that all we have achieved in response to this pandemic is not lost.

There are an estimated 363,000 adults experiencing multiple disadvantage across England - including a combination of homelessness, substance misuse, mental health issues, domestic abuse, and contact with the criminal justice system.

Many of these people have been caught in this situation for years, experiencing entrenched disadvantage, trauma and ill-health. They come into repeated contact with our police, criminal justice, and emergency response services without receiving the support they need to help them break the cycle – generating significant costs to the public purse without seeing improved life outcomes.

The Changing Futures programme aims to change this. Working in partnership in local areas and across government, it will test innovative approaches and seek to drive lasting change across the whole system to provide better outcomes for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage.

This prospectus invites expressions of interest from pioneering local partnerships who want to be part of this journey. We want to learn from the innovative work already going on in local areas, and to build on this with a new approach between government and local areas. The learning we generate will help to shape future policy and inform better approaches across the country.

By working together, we can help change systems, change services and change the futures of the most disadvantaged adults in our community.

We welcome your interest.

Kelly Tolhurst MP
Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing

On behalf of cross-government partners – CO, DCMS, DHSC, DWP, HMT, HO, MHCLG, MoJ, NHS England, PHE

1. Introduction

This document sets out the objectives and core principles for the Changing Futures programme. The programme aims to improve outcomes for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage by testing a more joined-up, person-centred approach in local areas and across government.

At the 2019 Spending Review, the government announced a new Shared Outcomes Fund to test innovative ways of bringing together the public sector to address cross-cutting issues and drive the modernisation of public services. £46 million of this fund has been committed for this programme to improve the way that systems and services work to support individuals experiencing multiple disadvantage - including a combination of homelessness, substance misuse, mental health issues, domestic abuse and contact with the criminal justice system.

There are an estimated 363,000 people in this situation across England. They are among the most vulnerable in our communities, and often experience entrenched disadvantage, trauma and health inequalities while experiencing barriers in accessing the support they need as public services struggle to respond. At the same time, they generate significant costs to the public purse through repeated but ineffective contact with local services, including emergency and criminal justice services. The most vulnerable adults in this situation are estimated to cost the state five times more than the average citizen per year.

Through the Troubled Families Programme the government is already incentivising coordinated local support for families experiencing multiple problems. We want to extend this kind of approach to other areas, building on the significant reform and learning already taking place.

The ‘Everyone In’ scheme to house people sleeping rough during the COVID-19 response has seen enhanced local partnership working and a step-change in support. A range of other government and local programmes to reduce reoffending, support recovery from substance misuse, improve physical and mental health, and address health inequalities among vulnerable groups are working with people in this cohort from different parts of the public sector. Voluntary sector-led projects such as the Fulfilling Lives programme and the MEAM approach from Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) are also contributing to a growing evidence-base on how areas can improve delivery and change systems for people experiencing multiple disadvantage[footnote 1].

However, improving outcomes for people in this situation remains a significant cross-cutting challenge. Collaboration between local partners, government departments, the NHS, the voluntary and community sector and those with lived experience is required to coordinate a better system-wide response and to address multiple disadvantage. There is more to do to join up effectively at a national and local level and to test different approaches to drive a systemic change in the way public services work together and with individuals to improve outcomes. This programme will complement existing government efforts to improve outcomes for this cohort.

The Changing Futures programme will bring together a selection of local areas that are committed to working with government and with each other over an initial two-year period (2021/22 to 2022/23) to improve outcomes for people experiencing multiple disadvantage. Together, the programme partners will develop local delivery models, deliver system change and test a new joined-up approach between government and local partners that will shape future government policy. Together, we will improve support for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

This prospectus invites expressions of interest (EOIs) from areas that would like to be involved. Areas shortlisted from this process will then be invited to develop a more detailed delivery plan in partnership with the central programme team. Areas will be part of a national community, sharing emerging and positive practice.

2. About the programme

2.1 Aims and objectives

The aim of the programme is to improve the way that local systems and services work for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage and to use learning from this to influence future government programmes and policy. The programme will promote a more joined-up, person-centred approach to local delivery, with areas committed to making long-term and sustainable changes to local systems that will deliver improved outcomes for individuals experiencing multiple disadvantage.

The programme seeks to make an impact at the individual, service and system level:

  • Individual level: A better coordinated approach helps stabilise and then improve outcomes for local cohorts of adults experiencing multiple disadvantage. This may include a combination of improved wellbeing, reduced offending, reduced substance misuse, better physical and mental health, secure housing, increased financial security, and education, training and employment.
  • Service level: A focus on delivering person-centred support for people experiencing multiple disadvantage leads to greater integration and collaboration across different services, and to more effective support and reduced demand on ‘reactive’ services.
  • System level: Local areas make meaningful, sustainable and transformational changes to local systems that benefit people experiencing multiple disadvantage. Strong multi-agency partnerships, governance and better use of data shapes future commissioning and helps local areas to agree common system goals to improve responses for those experiencing multiple disadvantage and deliver better value for money. Learning from partnership between government and local areas helps remove systemic barriers and improves cross-government policy making and delivery for this group.

Driving lasting local system change is central to the programme. System change can include changes around environment, policy, people, funding, culture, strategy, or process, that is sustainable in the long-term and transformational. While funding is available for service delivery – for example to address locally-identified gaps in provision or build capacity for more intensive ways of working with those experiencing multiple disadvantage - this will contribute to a joined-up local strategy that seeks to improve services and systems and inform future commissioning between partners.

There will be a strong focus on data to support an outcomes-focused approach and inform ongoing service improvement and system change. A robust evaluation will be commissioned to inform future approaches beyond the initial funding period and to inform cross-government policy making and delivery.

2.2 Identifying the cohort

The programme aims to improve outcomes for the most excluded adults locally – those experiencing multiple disadvantage and placing a high demand on local response services, but for whom current systems of support are not working. While the needs and background of people in this situation will vary, areas will work with adults experiencing three or more of the following five: homelessness, substance misuse, mental health issues, domestic abuse, and contact with the criminal justice system.

Many people in this situation may also experience poverty, trauma, physical ill-health and disability, learning disability, and/or a lack of family connections or support networks. As set out below, local areas should develop a coordinated, ‘whole person’ approach taking account of the full range of a person’s needs, strengths and resources (see 2.3).

Trevor’s story

Trevor grew up in what he would describe as a ‘dysfunctional’ family. His parents drank heavily, and ‘normalised drinking’. After serving time in prison as a teenager, he was kicked out of the family home. The lack of support available to Trevor, particularly in his teenage years and early twenties, meant that his needs escalated and became entrenched. This led to a 40-year cycle of being in out of prison and substance misuse fuelled by his mental ill health.

His substance misuse impacted on all aspects of his life. His money was used to purchase substances, meaning that Trevor did not eat well. It also impacted his mental health, causing hallucinations and making sleep difficult. At times, Trevor also experienced suicidal thoughts, and severe anxiety. He also displayed aggressive and volatile behaviour when ‘under the influence.’ This created challenges with accessing services and support. Trevor’s needs also impacted his ability to maintain a tenancy. Due to spending money on substances, he was frequently in arrears with rent.

One of the main issues Trevor faced was where to ‘find’ help. He struggled to access services due to his substance misuse, but his substance misuse was fuelled by his mental ill health. This left Trevor with very few options, and enabled his complex needs to continue untreated for many years.

Following a period of recovery, Trevor was at risk of eviction, using substances again and facing criminal charges. At this point, Trevor referred himself to Opportunity Nottingham - a service that supports people facing Severe Multiple Disadvantage.

With his dedicated Opportunity Nottingham Support Worker, Trevor started to consider all of the needs he was facing, and received help accessing services. His Support Plan included a programme of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, looking at ways to change and not give in. Perhaps most importantly, Trevor was encouraged to admit and accept that he had an addiction to substances. This enabled him to properly start dealing with his addiction, for the first time in nearly 40 years.

This led Trevor to focus on other activities in his life, and he regularly attended the gym and practiced Buddhism. This positively impacted his mental health, and also his behaviour towards others. For the first time in nearly 40 years, Trevor was able to positively look to the future. He worked as a volunteer Peer Researcher with Nottingham Trent University on behalf of Opportunity Nottingham, and aspired to be a Drug Support Worker in the future. Trevor believed the system could be improved if support systems are set up to address all of a person’s complex needs collectively, and not as individual needs.

Opportunity Nottingham is part of the Fulfilling Lives Programme – an 8-year, £112 million investment from The National Lottery Community Fund, which supports people who are experiencing multiple disadvantage

Particular focus should be given to ensuring that the programme reaches people who are not well-connected to existing support services and therefore may be missing from service data and local needs analyses, despite potentially placing high demand on reactive services. The cohort should also reflect the local population and their needs, with consideration given to protected characteristics including race, gender and sexuality and recognition that different groups engage with services in different ways and may require distinct and targeted solutions.

Within the above definition, there is flexibility for areas to highlight local priorities in their EOIs where there may be gaps in provision or local challenges relating to specific high need clusters of multiple disadvantage, for example: women in or at risk of contact with the criminal justice system; repeat offenders; adults who experience chronic homelessness; BAME individuals experiencing multiple disadvantage; or young adults in transition from youth services.

While allowing this local flexibility, we expect areas to demonstrate that the proposed approach does not duplicate existing services but enhances the local system and complements existing government programmes and provision (see section 3).

2.3 Delivery principles

The programme will take an outcomes-focused approach. We want to learn from local areas’ proposals and approaches and encourage local flexibility and innovation in delivery, building on and enhancing existing local services and partnerships as part of a national programme through which areas will learn from each other and shape national policy.

Within this, we will expect local partnerships to follow the core principles of the programme in their delivery plans, as set out below:

  • Work in partnership across local services and the voluntary and community sector, building strong cross-sector partnerships at a strategic and operational level that can design and implement an improved approach to tackling multiple disadvantage (see 2.4).
  • Coordinate support, and better integrate local services that support adults experiencing multiple disadvantage to enable a ‘whole person’ approach (see below).
  • Create flexibility in how local services respond to adults experiencing multiple disadvantage, taking a system-wide view with shared accountability and ownership leading to better service provision across statutory and voluntary organisations and a ‘no wrong door’ approach to support.
  • Involve people with lived experience of multiple disadvantage in the design, delivery and evaluation of improved services and in governance and decision making.
  • Take a trauma-informed approach across local system, services and in the governance of the programme;
  • Commit to drive lasting system-change, with long-term sustainable changes to benefit people experiencing multiple disadvantage and commitment to sustain the benefits of the programme beyond the lifetime of the funding.

While the programme does not prescribe frontline delivery models, there is a growing evidence-base on what works in supporting people experiencing multiple disadvantage. This highlights the importance of a ‘whole person’ approach, that takes account of a full range of a person’s strengths and challenges and works flexibly and intensively towards a person’s aims and goals to sustain long-term recovery. Other features of an effective whole person approach that should be taken account of across the system include:

  • long-term, persistent and intensive engagement, with no time limit on support
  • empowering and asset-based approach, with flexible personal recovery plans for individuals
  • working as a relationship-based intervention, with a keyworker approach
  • peer support elements
  • supported by multi-agency partnership arrangements helping to coordinate access to support and better integrate services

As noted above (2.1), driving lasting system change is central to the programme. A local system change plan will be a crucial part of the agreed delivery plan. This should take account of, and seek to build on, existing transformation work in the area, such as ongoing health and social care integration and reforms to probation services. System change activity should be sustainable in the long-term and transformational, and may include but is not limited to:

  • improved data sharing and data systems to improve service delivery and inform policy and commissioning
  • genuine co-production with service users and those with lived experience
  • stronger multi-agency partnership and governance to improve local accountability for this cohort
  • service integration and workforce development to embed more effective responses to multiple disadvantage across the local system
  • joint-commissioning approaches

Local delivery plans will also need to take account of evaluation and data requirements of the programme, as well as robust data protection and governance. The evaluation design will likely include a counterfactual comparison group (i.e. a group that does not join the programme) and the assessment of core outcomes across all areas. This will be essential to assess the impact of the programme. Local areas will need to commit to the evaluation strategy and design their approach to enable the successful delivery of the evaluation. We expect local areas to be committed to data maturity and areas will be required to gather and manage data for monitoring and evaluation purposes. These data requirements will be built in at the delivery plan stage in partnership with shortlisted areas (see timeline at 2.7).

2.4 Local partnership and governance

Partnership working across local agencies and strong local leadership is essential to the programme. Areas will need to develop strong partnership working structures at an operational and strategic level:

  • Operational partnership: multi-agency oversight of identification, referral processes, case conference and coordination of support. Identifying and overcoming operational challenges and barriers.
  • Strategic partnership: multi-agency governance, oversight of local system-change ambitions, identifying and un-blocking system challenges that cannot be addressed at operational level; identifying learning and opportunities for future policy and commissioning.

A local partnership will be responsible for delivering the programme in selected areas, with the following representation as a minimum:

  • Local Authority. Areas might wish to include representation from public health, housing support, substance misuse and/or adult social care services.
  • Strategic NHS partners, including one or more of Clinical Commissioning Group, Integrated Care System/Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, Mental Health Trust, and NHS England commissioners.
  • Police and/or Police and Crime Commissioner.
  • National Probation Service. Areas might also wish to additionally involve representation from prison, HM Courts and Tribunals, and Youth Offending Services.
  • Voluntary, social and community sector partners.

It is also recommended that local partnerships invite representation from Jobcentre Plus where that is appropriate to their aims.

The governance of the local area programme will be through this partnership, and any of the above partners – or multiple partners – may be identified as the chair or lead of the local partnership. Alternatively, areas may choose to identify an independent chair of the partnership.

While the local authority will be the direct recipient of funding on behalf of the partnership through a Section 31 grant, funding will flow through the local authority to other parts of the system in line with the local delivery plan. Proposals may cover a single local authority area or operate on a wider geographical footprint covering multiple local authority areas.

While allowing local flexibility in these structures, certain roles will need to be identified in each area to ensure effective running of the programme and engagement with the central programme and evaluation teams. These roles can be identified within any of the partner organisations, and can be an existing position or supported by programme funding:

  • Local political lead: Named elected local political lead who will oversee and champion the project. This may be a local authority cabinet member, leader or Police and Crime Commissioner.
  • Senior Responsible Officer: Identified senior official responsible for delivering the project.
  • Partnership lead: named lead for overseeing delivery of local programme and coordinating partnership. Acts as single point of contact for the central government team.
  • System change lead: named lead responsible for overseeing system change learning and delivery and linking with commissioners.
  • Data and digital lead: named lead on data, data protection, information governance and outcomes measurement. Key contact for evaluation team.

2.5 National network and support offer

Local areas will be part of a national programme, sharing learning and emerging and positive practice with each other, with the central programme team hosted by MHCLG, and with the cross-government Programme Board.

The cross-government Programme Board has representation from Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), HM Treasury (HMT), Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), NHS England, Public Health England and the Government Equalities Office. It will oversee the delivery of the programme and facilitate partnership working across government to identify and address barriers faced by local areas.

A support offer will also be commissioned to support local delivery, providing expert advice, training and support with partnership building, system thinking, lived experience involvement and data. A national network will also share positive practice and learning beyond the selected programme areas.

2.6 Funding

This prospectus launches an initial light touch EOI phase, for local areas to state their interest in engaging in this programme with government and for us to learn more about current and planned activity in these areas to inform the area selection process (see section 3 below).

Following the initial EOI phase, grant funding of up to £15,000 will be available for shortlisted areas in year 1 (2020/21) to develop a more detailed delivery plan in partnership with the central government programme team.

Initially up to £35.7 million will be available for delivery in year 2 (2021/22) and year 3 (2022/23). It is envisioned that grants will be in the range of £1.5 million - £4.5 million per area across the initial 2 years. The amount will combine a fixed element for core local partnership and programme costs, alongside a flexible element dependent upon the local context which might include size of cohort and scale of programme.

Further details will be provided at the shortlisting stage. Final grant agreements will depend on the delivery plans agreed with successful areas.

Local partnership contribution

Local partnerships will also be expected to provide match funding to encourage sustainability, which may be through direct funding or in-kind contributions. This may include commitments to dedicate staff from different partners to the programme, pool funds for commissioning, agree targets for enhanced delivery for the Changing Futures cohort across different local services, and/or to extend the programme into a further year beyond the initial two-year period. The precise form of match-funding will depend on the local delivery plan and can be developed further at delivery plan stage (see 3.4 below).

2.7 Timeline

The initial delivery period will be for two years in 2021/22 and 2022/23, with options to extend if more funding is available, including through local match funding. We expect local areas to demonstrate plans to sustain a legacy of system change and improved working for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage beyond the initial programme period.

Below provides a planned timeline for mobilisation of the programme:

  • December 2020: EOI prospectus launched
  • 16 December 2020: Webinar for areas
  • 6 January 2021: Webinar for areas
  • 21 January 2021: Deadline for EOIs
  • February 2021: Shortlist of areas announced
  • March to April 2021: Delivery plan development
  • Spring 2021: Year 2 delivery grants agreed, funding provided, delivery commences

3. Criteria for Expressions of Interest

We are interested in hearing from areas that are already delivering some partnership work focusing on multiple disadvantage who are looking to scale-up, expand and develop further as part of the Changing Futures Programme.

Selected areas must be committed to engaging in driving system change as well as improving outcomes for their local cohort experiencing multiple disadvantage. Areas will work closely with the central government team and must comply with evaluation and monitoring requirements. In return, the selected areas will:

  • receive grant funding to support their agreed delivery plan
  • be part of a learning and positive practice support network of areas seeking to address similar challenges
  • contribute to a programme with cross-government support and oversight - helping to identify and address barriers to improving outcomes for their local cohort

It is important to note that the goal of the programme is to generate learning and test a new partnership approach between government and local areas. This will inform future policy and the potential scale-up of a new outcomes-focused approach in the future. Therefore, we are seeking a balance of different areas of the country, scales of operation, partnership structures and delivery models to maximise learning. This light-touch EOI process is an opportunity to learn more about interested local areas’ current delivery, priorities and plans to inform this selection process.

Areas that are not selected through the initial EOI process may still benefit from the programme. A national network will be established to share learning and positive practice and with learning events and communications that will help support any existing or subsequent partnership work for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage in their area.

The criteria we will consider when shortlisting local areas are set out below:

1. Existing local partnership work to address multiple disadvantage

EOIs should provide a summary of existing partnership work to support adults experiencing multiple disadvantage in the area and set out how participation in the programme aligns with local strategic priorities.

2. Understanding of local need

EOIs should demonstrate evidence of local need relating to multiple disadvantage and provide supporting evidence for any specific local priority groups identified, including with reference to protected characteristics.

We acknowledge that at this stage there will be evidence and data gaps, particularly around the most excluded and ‘hard to reach’ individuals. Where this is the case, EOIs should demonstrate how areas plan to address these gaps and improve data and mapping of the cohort through participation in the programme.

3. Proposed delivery model and theory of change

EoIs should provide initial proposals for their delivery approach, that set out how the partnership will build on existing work and improve outcomes for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage in line with the core principles set out in section 2.3 above. This should include:

  • A summary demonstrating strong multi-agency partnership arrangements at an operational and strategic level to support delivery of the programme and provide local governance and oversight.
  • A clear articulation of how the proposed approach is expected to lead to improved outcomes at the individual, service and system level.

4. Commitment to driving lasting system change

EOIs must show a commitment to driving lasting system change to better support adults experiencing multiple disadvantage. Areas should set out how they plan to sustain the benefits of the programme beyond the lifetime of the initial funding and must commit to engaging fully in the central evaluation.

This includes a commitment from local authorities and partner agencies to provide match-funding (either direct or in-kind contributions). As set out in section 2.6 above, the precise form of match-funding will depend on the local delivery plan and can be developed further at delivery plan stage. This may include commitments to dedicate staff to the programme, pool funds for commissioning, agree targets for enhanced delivery for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage across different local services, and/or extend the programme into a further year beyond the initial funding period.

5. Overlap with existing projects

A range of government programmes are currently underway led by different parts of the public sector or targeting specific groups with high levels of multiple disadvantage, such as people sleeping rough, repeat offenders, or women in or at risk of contact with the criminal justice system. This includes NHS England long term plan mental health funding, Public Health England rough sleeping drug and alcohol treatment funding, and rough sleeping support grants from MHCLG among others, such as the Rough Sleeping Initiative. It also includes other Shared Outcomes Fund projects such as:

  • Prison Leavers Project (MoJ)
  • Project ADDER (Home Office)
  • Out of Hospital Care models (DHSC)
  • Refugee Transitions Outcomes Fund (Home Office)

Areas involved in these programmes are eligible to take part in the Changing Futures programme. However, we expect areas to identify where they are participating in other government or voluntary sector funded projects impacting on this cohort, and to articulate how involvement in the programme will provide additionality to complement and enhance other programmes and interventions underway in the area as part of a whole system approach.

4. How to apply

Please complete the Expression of Interest (EOI) form available here and submit to MCN@communities.gov.uk by 21 January 2021.

Please note only one bid will be accepted per area.

If you have any further queries about the criteria and EOI process, please contact the team on the email address above.

The central team will be running two webinars on 16 December and 6 January for areas interested in applying. Please email the address above for joining details if you would like to attend.

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