Early Help

What is Early Help?

Early Help is offering advice, support and direct interventions at the earliest point of identified need. The aims of Early Help are to support families to support themselves, to prevent problems escalating and to reduce the numbers needing statutory interventions.

Who should offer Early Help?

As a basic principle, the first person to offer support to a child or young person and their family should be the professional identifying the issue.

How do I know if Early Help is needed?

You should refer to Swinton’s agreed Right Help at the Right Time. Early Help sits within Level 2 within this document. Reading this will give you a sense of the types of issues that should be addressed by offering Early Help. It is recommended that all professionals working with children, young people and families familiarise themselves with this guidance.

You can download our Right Help at the Right Time here:

What if the family needs more than I can offer?

Swinton’s Early Help Service provides more intensive targeted support to children, young people and families with more complex needs. You should discuss the case with someone from the Early Help Hub service on 01793466479.

Early Help Hub

The Early Help Hub is based at Clarence House co-located with the Multi Agency Safeguarding Team (MASH) and the Assessment and Child Protection Team.

The Hub was designed to ensure families in Swindon receive Early Help Support at the right time in line with the Right Help at the Right Time (see link section below).

The Hub will:

  • Coordinate and provide support and advice to referrers and families about Early Help in Swindon
  • Work in partnership with services to ensure families are receiving Early Help interventions
  • Quality Assure Early Help Assessments and Plans to ensure they are family led and reflective of the needs of the family
  • Support partners to maintain and update their Early Help Knowledge and Skills
  • Upload all of the Early Help paperwork
  • Provide independent chairing of Team Around the Family Meetings
  • Support with Case Mapping

Early Help Assessment (Record) and Plan

The Early Help Assessment (Record) and Plan is the common process for supporting children, young people and families with additional needs through early identification of problems, swift intervention and a planned, co-ordinated response. The aim is to consider the needs of the child or young person in three key areas:

  • The development of the child/young person, including health and well being
  • Parenting/caring
  • Family and community

The intention is for all children, irrespective of their circumstances, to have the best start in life, to grow up safe, stable and healthy, to fulfil their potential and make a contribution to their community.

The Early Help Assessment (Record) is part one of a single assessment process that aims to empower parents and provide a timely, seamless service if needs escalate.

How Does the Process Work?

The practitioner who identifies a child’s needs gains consent from the young person, parent or carer to undertake an assessment, following which he or she coordinates an Early Help Assessment (Record) and Plan and, if appropriate, initiates a Team Around the Child and Family (TAC/F) meeting.

The purpose of the TAC/F meeting is to bring together practitioners with the appropriate skills to meet the identified needs of the child and develop a support plan. The parents and practitioners concerned will agree the most appropriate person to undertake the Lead Professional role. Goals will be identified and regular reviews undertaken, with the focus on a child-centred approach, positive engagement with the family, increased community involvement and collaboration between agencies.

Statutory Needs Assessment and the Education, Health and Care Plan

The Early Help record and Plan should be used by schools, early years settings and colleges as part of the graduated response to meet the needs of children and young people with SEN to record, monitor and evaluate provision, intervention and progress against outcomes set. This can then be used as a basis and evidence for statutory assessment for an EHC Plan if this is required in the future.

Useful Links










Our continued commitment to the improvement of the current Early Help Model is laid out in the following strategy document:

a family on a sofa