Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) has successfully bid for government funding to develop a programme which will improve services for families in Reading and beyond.

Around £915,000 has been awarded to BFfC by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) from the Local Data Accelerator Fund.

The bid was submitted in collaboration with West Berkshire Council, Wokingham Borough Council, Thames Valley Police, Portsmouth City Council, Solent NHS, Clinical Commissioning Group and the Department for Work & Pensions West Berkshire Cluster, and supported by Reading Borough Council.

The funding will allow BFfC to develop a system which brings together data to enable social care, police and health professionals to have a joined-up approach to supporting disadvantaged families. The initiative forms part of the government’s Supporting Families programme.

BFfC had already successfully set up a data-hub in Reading which gave social care practitioners easier access to information about families and allowed them to establish the families’ current and future needs and take a more trauma informed approach.

It also allows professionals to track the progress of families and highlights where additional support may be needed to prevent needs from escalating.

The project has helped BFfC become one of the top performers in the national Supporting Families programme.

Other local authorities have been keen to mirror the success of the Reading Data Hub and this funding will allow BFfC and its partners to develop the scheme and roll it out to other council areas.

Di Smith, Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children, said: “I am delighted that Brighter Futures for Children has been awarded this funding and would like to thank the MHCLG, our partners and everyone else involved in the bid.

“The programme brings all the information held on families together in one place to give professionals an overview of each family’s situation. It reduces the time spent looking through reports and spreadsheets and allows social workers to spend more time visiting the families they are supporting.”

Cllr Liz Terry, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “Congratulations to Brighter Futures for Children on their successful bid for this funding which will help improve outcomes for Reading’s children and their families.

“I am proud that this innovative work, which started in Reading, will go on to benefit families in our neighbouring council areas and potentially other local authorities across the country.

“Closer working between our social care team and partner agencies makes complete sense and I look forward to this project bringing professionals even closer together for the benefit of disadvantaged families.”

The government press release can be found here.