Early Help Recommissioning information 2023

The contracts for Early Help mentoring and Family Centres are ending soon.

The Early Help mentoring scheme commissioned offer is available Surrey-wide and provides mentoring support to families that have children between 0 to 19 years old. These services can be self-referred into and do not require a referral from Surrey County Council's Children's Single Point of Access (C-SPA).

The Family Centres contracts in Surrey support families to find solutions to the parenting and relationship challenges they face and to grow in confidence to manage future difficulties. The aim of the Family Centres is to help families build their own resilience and self-reliance. The Family Centres provide one-to-one family support where the family situation is having a significant impact on the health, development, or wellbeing of the child/ children. The centres work closely with health, community groups, and other commissioned services to ensure that families receive joined up support from key agencies. Family Centres also offer parenting programmes and group activities about common issues, for example, strategies to help with family routines or keeping children safe.

Context of Early Help in Surrey

Early Help means that children, young people and families receive the right help as soon as a problem emerges. This could be at any age through childhood and adolescence. In Surrey this is known as Helping Families Early. This is not a separate service; it is an activity undertaken by anyone who is working with families. It relies upon local services (such as Schools, Health, Police and Voluntary Organisations) working together to identify and support children and families who would benefit from extra help.

Surrey commissions partners to help deliver early help and targeted support. However, there are also internal support and services available. For example, Targeted Youth Services, which work with young people and their families to reduce the need for statutory intervention. Early Help services are central to Surrey County Council's corporate ambitions to ensure no one is left behind and support the prevention of health inequalities.

Principles for Early Help in Surrey

According to Surrey County Council's Helping Families Early Strategy, the Early Help Partnership is committed to the following principles which inform the way we work with children and families:

  • Empower families to take responsibility by working with them, not doing things to or for them.
  • Recognise that family, friends, and community can be the most effective and sustainable forces of "help".
  • Enable support at the right time, in the right place, in the right way.
  • Work in partnership to make best use of shared resource, skills, and knowledge.
  • Embrace a strength based, whole-family approach to finding sustainable solutions.
  • Build our work on evidence informed approach.
  • Understand the power of good communications both with families and with colleagues.

What is commissioning and why do we do it?

Surrey's definition of commissioning includes using the resources available, including the strengths and assets of residents and communities, to respond to needs and enable sustainably better outcomes for children, adults, families, or communities.

As outlined by the National Audit Office a commissioning process must be fair and transparent and allows the involvement of the broadest range of suppliers. This process enables the successful bidder(s) to deliver the service(s). Commissioning also provides an opportunity to review current delivery of services, establish what is working well, gaps and improvements that can be made to enhance how the services are delivered to meet the needs of residents.

How we have worked with children, young people families and partners to prepare for the recommission

  • We have created a Needs Assessment which helps us understand what the needs are across Surrey. The Needs Assessment is a snapshot in time, showing the current needs across Surrey, what services are delivering (being delivered) and most importantly feedback from children, young people, and families. Developing the Needs Assessment has helped us create recommendations to fill in gaps for any future services that are developed around services.
  • We have carried out engagement, coproduction and co-design workshops with children, young people, families and partners. We have captured feedback, which has been used to help shape our Early Help services.
  • We have carried out market engagement events with potential and current providers to share our learning from engagement, co-production and co-design workshops. We also shared our draft recommissioning proposals. Please see the documents below for more information.

Engagement and co-production reports

Commissioned research

Market engagement events presentations and feedback

Partnership Forum outputs

Early Help prototyping workshop

What happens next?

Please see below a high-level timeframe.

  • June to September 2023: Market engagement events to share finalised model ad hold sessions on how to bid before the tenders go live.
  • November to April 2023: Mobilisation

How to keep up to date?

Prospective bidders will need to sign up to Proactis and regularly check for updates on future commissioning opportunities and market engagement events. You will also have access to previous communications from Surrey County Council about the current Early Help recommissioning process.

Please note, to access the portal you will need to register. Log on to your Proactis homepage and use the following the instructions to receive updates and alerts. Go to the Proactis homepage, then select Account > Preferences > Opportunity Notifications (ensure Surrey County Council is selected to be informed of all future opportunities).

For any questions, please email EH.commissioning@surreycc.gov.uk


Files available to download

Subscribe to our newsletters for latest news and events.