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Market Context

There is a multitude of early help services/support for adults and carers across Essex, provided by ECC and externally with our partners. Work is currently underway to devise a strategy for this cohort going forwards.

Early intervention and prevention is one of the seven priorities for ASC. Developing a visible and transparent Early Help Offer will contribute to prevent, reduce and/or delay demand for specialist support. This focuses on:

  • Understanding the demand on the Adult Social Care front door.
  • Identifying how the system works to prevent, reduce, and delay that demand. 
  • Identifying interventions; processes; workforce that deliver Early Help.
  • Exposing opportunities to do things better, particularly around being able to respond and support people earlier.
  • Enabling effective commissioning and de-commissioning decisions.
  • Identifying system improvements and opportunities for joint-working and placed based services. 

The Early Help programme development is moving into the second phase and the insight will determine future market ratings.

Our ambition is:

  • Everyone can live their life to its fullest potential, to live as independently as possible and be supported to thrive within their own families and local communities.
  • The system works with people to identify their own solutions, building on their own strengths and assets.
  • Thus, the approach shifts focus away from managing short-term crises and towards effective support for people and their families at an earlier stage, with them at the centre of enabling environments rather than them being dependent on organised public services.

There is a plethora of Early Help services/support across Essex, provided both by ECC and externally with our partners, but it’s disjointed with no cohesive view of what Early Help is available for adults and carers in Essex. We need to understand what is currently happening to determine what to do more of, less of or do better at.

COVID has only strengthened the need to have a robust Early Help offer building on the strengths of the voluntary and community sector and communities.  Analysis is currently being undertaken to understand the demand on the ASC front door in order to develop more targeted appropriate responses that will see people get the early help they need to support themselves and be resilient and thereby prevent escalation to crisis.

Current market risks:

  • The Care Act sets out Local Authorities’ responsibilities in relation to “prevent, reduce, delay” but we do not yet know what we are delivering against these and the impact it is having – are we doing enough?
  • From next year Adult Social Care will be subject to the new CQC Inspection Framework. Now we don’t know how well we’re doing and if we’re adhering to our responsibilities in terms of Early Help.
  • The way data is recorded on Mosaic is not giving us an accurate picture of the demand coming into ASC and how it filters through the system.

All of this is being looked at as part of the Early Help work.

Our current area of focus is:

  • Early Help mapping – what does Early Help look like in Essex across the commissioning and partner landscape.
  • Data, finance and insight – understand demand and trends against commissioning and spend.
  • Policy and strategy – alignment and embedding approach in policy and strategy our work is compliant and complements other work in this space.
Last updated: 27/05/2022