The care provided during the first years of a child’s life has more influence on a child’s future than at any other time in their life.
Well-connected and integrated early years services can help to make sure families access the right support at the right time.
London Councils commissioned Isos Partnership to undertake research to look at integration of support for children through their early years journey across London to better understand effective integration across early years systems and services, what extent this is in place already, and what further steps are needed to create more joined-up support.
The report, Beyond Boundaries, finds that integration of early years systems is considered a priority across London but there is a variability in practice. Obstacles holding up more joined up working include capacity, cultural barriers, shifting landscapes and technical difficulties which include a lack of information on sharing systems or rules locally.
Integration of services relies on strong mutual understanding of joint priorities, roles and responsibilities, and the space to work together and connect. There are different ways to bring services together, and local decision making that responds to community needs remains essential.
The report makes recommendations to address these challenges at a local level, across London, and nationally. It calls on local leaders within councils, in health and the community, to prioritise the development of closer working to integrate all parts of the pre-birth to five system so that the support families may receive from different services is as seamless as possible.
London Councils has also published a self-evaluation tool to enable local authorities and their partners to progress better join up across their local early years system and develop a common agenda for change.