Suffolk Family Focus

All families can face challenges in day-to-day life. From relationship breakdowns to issues such as ill health or unemployment, there are times when it isn’t always clear where to go for help.

Suffolk Family Focus is an approach that empowers teams and key workers, across organisational boundaries, to support families with complex issues.

This emphasises three things: one worker, one family, one plan. It simplifies and improves ways of working to benefit families and bring professionals together.

This means a clear, joined up approach where all families with complex and difficult needs receive the whole family approach.

In practice, this means a single point of contact and one plan that sets out what support each family will receive from a range of organisations, based on their collective needs and not those of a single family member.

Suffolk Family Focus means not having to tell the same story multiple times because public sector organisations - with the permission of the family - share information to understand the issues with which the family is trying to cope.

It’s a partnership between local councils, NHS, the police, voluntary sector, Job Centre Plus and others who all work together to help families in need. It was created as Suffolk County Council’s response to the national troubled Families Programme which started in 2012 and will run until 2020.

Suffolk Family Focus will have achieved its aim when all Suffolk families in need are offered the right support at the right time and place so they can get back on their feet quickly’. 

Read the Suffolk Family Focus Outcomes Plan

Our commitment

Suffolk County Council has committed to the Government to deliver the national programme in our area.

In order to fulfil our obligations it is necessary to share information with critical partners. This is not only in delivering the programme but also in evaluating its effectiveness.

In order to identify families, understand the difference we are making and focus on who can potentially benefit from the holistic family-focussed approach the programme offers we will be sharing personal records that relate to you.

This might include records in relation to your social care, any involvement with the police, courts and probation, aspects relating to your employment, anti-social behaviour, violence in the home, substance misuse, educational attendance and behaviour, vulnerable children and health issues.

The personal data of individuals and families will be linked with information from public agencies. Organisations such as the NHS and health organisations, Department of works and pension, the Police, the ministry of Justice, the probation services, schools and Youth offending Team.  The data includes both those people / families only assessed, but also those who have participated in the programme.

The reason to link the information is to help the government and local service providers understand whether or not the programme has been effective in reducing offending, truancy and getting people ready for work and to help improve the service over time.

Data agreements are in place to ensure that:

  • the data can only be used for carrying out research;
  • the linked data cannot be used to make decisions about individuals;
  • the linked information is anonymised to reduce the risk of individuals being identified;
  • it will be impossible for any person or family to be identified from any published reports;
  • the linked personal data will not be shared with or made available to the local authority or any other public agency;
  • all data is transferred, handled and stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act;
  • appropriate measures are in place to prevent unauthorised use of the data; the data is destroyed after five years.

Perspectives on Suffolk Family Focus

Philip Carter-Goodyear from the Department for Work and Pensions discusses his involvement with Suffolk Family Focus.



Stuart Hudson, Suffolk Troubled Families Co-ordinator, 
01473 265200

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