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Family Insights Programme

Project start date: December 2014

We (Newcastle City Council) were awarded £2.7m to redesign our entire approach to social work, by developing new specialist social work units that focus on families with similar needs.  ‘Family Insights’ aims to increase direct work with families by enabling more skilled and better informed social work staff to provide a tailored and timelier response, to ensure families’ needs are met.

Project Summary


High demand on social care services is reducing the ability of key workers to enact direct change for young people and their families. An overly bureaucratic system and responses not fit-for-purpose are leading to too many vulnerable children spending too long in a system that may not promote lasting change for them and their families.

We created four Social Work Units focused on families with similar needs and characteristics. Alongside this, a redesign of care management systems, and a focus on mobile learning, allowed more direct and systematic work with families to be undertaken. Furthermore, there was an increased emphasis on informed decision making, based on greater use of insights and informatics.

Underpinning these changes was a commitment to having learning at the centre of the organisation, with sharing, within and across teams, encouraged as a way to establish a learning culture.

In order to sustainably scale the model there is need to further support partner agencies and encourage well-resourced support services to provide early help and step-down support, while also protecting caseloads within Family Insights. This will ensure practitioners’ ability to engage in more pro-active, preventative work.

Moving forward, segmented units are being rolled out across children’s social care and Newcastle City Council is mainstreaming systemic practice through all teams working with families.

Find out more

Project contact details

Please contact the local authority for further detail

Project evaluators

Kantar Public

Project partners

Social Finance

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