Cabinet Office Social Exclusion Taskforce

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The progress of the Social Exclusion Task Force

The Social Exclusion Task Force (SETF) has made significant progress in dealing with social exclusion issues since its creation in June 2006.

Social Exclusion Action Plan

Reaching Out: An Action Plan on Social Exclusion publication [PDF 1.22MB, 100 pages], was produced in September 2006 and set out an initial programme of work to tackle exclusion. Actions from the publication were delivered by the SETF as well as other government departments. An update to the Prime Minister, Reaching Out: Progress on Social Exclusion, was published in February 2007, highlighting progress made by that point.

Lifetime approach to tackling social exclusion

The SETF supported the launch of three pilot schemes to reach those who are most vulnerable to exclusion and have the most complex social needs as part of the Task Force’s programme to encourage innovative approaches to tackling social exclusion.

We launched the Adults facing Chronic Exclusion (ACE) pilots in June 2007. Currently,12 different projects across England are testing different approaches that aim to help adults with chaotic lives within their local communities. The pilot projects are jointly funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government, Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Health and the Home Office.

Ten Family Nurse Partnership pilot sites were established in April 2007 [External website]. Highly trained nurses backed by a groundbreaking partnership between Primary Care Trusts and Local Authorities provide intensive one-to-one maternity and paediatric care for disadvantaged mothers in their homes. This initiative is based on the successful US Nurse Family Partnership programme and it is led by the Department of Health in partnership with the DCSF.

The government pledged in the New Opportunities White Paper to roll out support to all vulnerable pregnant mums one-to-one support through the Family Nurse Partnership programme over the next decade.

The SETF helped establish ten pilot sites for Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) in November 2007. MST is an intensive intervention for young people at high risk of being taken into care or custody. The pilots are led by the Department of Health, with support from the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Youth Justice Board.

In addition, the SETF has initiated cross-government work to employ more members of PSA 16 groups in the civil service and NHS.

It has also secured a change to the 16-hour rule so vulnerable young people can stay in education and training for longer. From Spring 2009, the age limit for claiming Income Support while in full time education will rise from 20 to 21.

71 local authorities have prioritised PSA 16 indicators in their Local Area Agreements.

A young person with a learning disability has been recruited to work in the SETF. The role will include providing a user’s perspective on PSA16.

Career mentoring for care leavers and new employment strategies for mental health and learning disabilities were announced as part of the New Opportunities White Paper.

Reform of systems and services

Families at Risk Review

The ‘Families At Risk Review’ examined the multiple problems faced by the most excluded families in our society.

The SETF published the first stage of the Review, Reaching Out: Think Family, in June 2007 and set out our interim analysis and themes. The Review concluded with the publication of Think Family: Improving the life chances of families at risk [PDF 441KB, 31 pages] in January 2008. It set out a vision for a local system that improves the life chances of families at risk and helps to break the cycle of disadvantage. It outlines the key characteristics of a system that thinks family at all levels, from the highest level of government to the frontline.

The ‘Think Family’ approach is now being taken forward by the Department of Children, Schools and Families through 15 Family Pathfinders, which were launched in May 2008. The Youth Crime Action Plan announced funding to all local authorities to support effective working between children’s and adult’s services in line with the ‘Think Family’ model.

Think Research

In May 2008, the Task Force produced a set of guidelines entitled, Think Research: Using Research Evidence to Inform Service Development for Vulnerable Groups [PDF 1.95MB, 30 pages], in partnership with Barnardo's, Research in Practice (RIP) and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). This tool encourages commissioners and service providers to use evidence based research to commission and monitor services that would achieve the desired impact for service users and ensure value for money.

Further information about Think Research.

Making Key Policy Contributions Across Government

The SETF feeds into key reports, white papers and other workstreams across government that relate to social exclusion. Key contributions made by the Task Force to date include: