The Compass Service, developed by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, enables an integrated approach between health, social care and families to receive individualised assessments and interventions designed around their needs.
Compass comprises an outreach service, a Virtual Residential School (VRS) and a Family Development Unit. Together, it offers a bespoke multidisciplinary therapeutic education model and wrap-around support service for children in and on the edge of care.
The VRS approach is based on the development of the social care workforce, providing a secure base for staff and carers to offer a therapeutic environment for pupils and their families. Alongside this, the outreach service provides therapeutic and intensive family support services to families with children identified as edge of care or looked after. The Family Development Unit locates staff from across health, social care and education within one service, allowing multi-agency assessments of complex families and reducing the need for expert psychological assessments or out of county residential assessments in care proceedings.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2017 found that:
- Compass Outreach Service was associated with a reduction in the use of statutory social care services; of the 99 cases discharged from Compass Outreach Service, 9 cases had been admitted to the Service with a legal status and discharged without one, and only 3 children could not be prevented from becoming ‘LAC’ from admission to discharge, as reported by Compass staff.
- Compass Outreach Service data showed that out of the 16 young people who were living in foster care at referral, 5 were successfully returned to their homes. Data also showed that only 11 out of 70 young people who were living at home at referral could not be prevented from going into foster care as reported by Compass staff.
- Fiscal Return on Investment (FROI) was 3.39, meaning savings of approximately £3.39 for every £1 invested.