One Front Door
The whole picture for the whole family
Family members and their vulnerabilities interconnect. People do not operate in silos and neither should we.
A mental health worker supporting a vulnerable woman should know if there is domestic abuse in the household. A child safeguarding team should be aware of substance misuse at home. Without knowing about the whole family and the issues affecting them, how can we fully support them?
If information is not shared, we deal with one person, and one concern at a time – through different professionals with different agendas. We are missing opportunities to help and lives are being put unnecessarily at risk.
But if we work together, and build a picture of each family that reflects how people actually live their lives – we can help people earlier, and more effectively
The One Front Door
Thanks to funding from the Government's Tampon Tax Fund, from 2016 to 2019, we piloted the first stage of One Front Door - bringing together multi-agency specialist teams of statutory and voluntary sector partners to identify the needs and risks of every family member at the same time, making vital links between the needs of individuals and the families they belong to, and providing earlier specialist support to adult and child victims, as well as perpetrators of domestic abuse.
The pilot ran in seven locations across England: Bexley, Norfolk, North Somerset, North Tyneside, St Helens, Suffolk and West Sussex.
Concluding in June 2019, our pilots have shown a significant impact on early intervention and prevention, finding:
Improved structural approaches
- Perpetrator responses were commissioned for the first time in local authority areas
- Cultural change programmes were initiated in children's social services
- Ofsted named One Front Door as a positive model in two sites and highlighted faults which would be resolved by its adoption in a third
Improved ways of working
- Practitioners were overwhelmingly positive about new ways of working
- Multi-agency work became more collaborative and effective
- There was an increase in parity of esteem between specialist agencies (often voluntary) and large statutory partners which deepened engagement between them
- There was a shift from multi-agency teams simply administering information to bringing specialist expertise and meaningful analysis to bear on all information available to them
- In depth analysis in sites found:
i) Better information sharing resulted in 17% of risk assessments uprated
ii) In the first four months of One Front Door implementation, 31% of police contacts progressed to social care assessments from 3% in the previous year.
ii) A more than 25% increase in the number of contacts which were not closed with 'No Further Action' for the same time periods.
"I've never worked anywhere it has been so streamlined, it's so focused and everybody knows what they are doing and everybody is there together in that multi-agency approach. It makes things a lot easier and we're able to reach a lot more of the victims that come through because of this. It's a great way to work, you get things done so much more efficiently."
Domestic Abuse Specialist from one of our pilot sites
We are aware there are still challenges to overcome. For example, timescales and safeguarding thresholds sometimes prevented agencies sharing information which could have highlighted additional risks, but the appetite for change is strong. We will continue to stress test our approach in additional sites, building the evidence base supporting One Front Door as an effective whole family approach.
 It is not clear how much of this increase was a result of having a better picture of the risks and needs within the family, and how much was due to a lack of alternative outcomes as it was not possible to track the outcome of these assessments.
 This refers to cases which were discussed in the One Front Door meeting.