Annex B: Early Intervention Foundation Guidebook to Evidence Based Programmes

Supporting Families programme guidance 2022 to 2025

What does this document cover?

Guidance relating to the delivery of Supporting Families in 2022-25

Who is it for?

Intended for use by local authority Supporting Families teams and their partners, auditors and analysts.

Early Intervention Foundation guide-book as a comprehensive list of evidence based programmes

Commissioning early intervention services means bringing together everything you know about local needs and risks with robust evidence on the effectiveness of different programmes and practices, and using this information to make decisions in the best interests of both the people who need additional support and local budgets which are under pressure.

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) Guidebook provides information about early intervention programmes that have been evaluated and shown to improve outcomes for children and young people which could be commissioned to improve the lives of those you are seeking to help.

The guidebook provides information based on EIF’s assessment of the strength of evidence for a programme’s effectiveness, and on detail about programmes shared with us by those who design, run and deliver them. It also provides a wealth of information about the specific outcomes a programme has been shown to improve and the size of those improvements, how the programme works and how it is delivered, and the conditions or resources that can make a programme more likely to be effective.

The guidebook is not…

An endorsement for any specific programme. While the guidebook provides information about an intervention’s effectiveness, this information should never be interpreted as validation, advisement or recommendation.

A complete or exhaustive list. There are thousands of interventions and approaches with various levels of evidence, and we cannot include all of them.

A guarantee or silver bullet. The interventions included here have some evidence of being effective. This evidence is not, however, a guarantee that the intervention will work every time they are delivered. Many factors positively and negatively influence intervention outcomes. Interventions must therefore always be monitored within local settings to make sure that they are effective and providing value for money.

A set of simple answers. Research evidence on effectiveness provides a starting point rather than the final word for effective services and practice. If you are developing a new service, whilst it’s important to start by considering the evidence on what has been shown to improve outcomes, this must also be weighed up alongside wider factors such as what families want and need, cost, whether staff and volunteers have the right skills to deliver it and so on.

A short cut or quick win. Delivering, effective early intervention can be challenging. While many of the best interventions provide clear implementation guidelines, these often require changes across local delivery systems and how agencies work. The best research suggests that it often takes two or more years before an intervention or practice change will demonstrate positive results.

A recommendation for using programmes ‘off the shelf’. The primary aim of this list is to provide examples of ideas that work and options for local authorities. It does not aim to stop innovation or use of practices with evidence of being effective at the local level.