Description of the goods or services required
Early Help Provision Mentoring & Youth Provision
Bedford Borough Council’s Early Help Strategy is a cornerstone in the Borough Council’s approach to delivering better outcomes for children, young people and their families in Bedford Borough. Our approach to Early Help is very much a partnership one, with delivery of the aspirations outlined in the strategy hinging on successful partnership working not only with statutory agencies such as the council, health agencies and the police, but also private providers and the voluntary and community sector.
Early Help is the term used to describe arrangements and services that identify the needs of children, young people and families as soon as the problems start to emerge, or when there is a strong likelihood that problems will emerge in the future.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) identifies the critical features of effective Early Help as:
• A multi-disciplinary approach that brings a range of professional skills and expertise to bear through a "Team around the Child" approach.
• A relationship with a trusted lead professional who can engage with the child and their family, and coordinate the support needed from other agencies
• Practice that empowers families and helps them to develop the capacity to resolve their own problems
• A holistic approach that addresses the children's needs in the wider family context
• Simple, streamlined referral and assessment process.
Since the inception of Bedford Borough’s Early Help offer we have seen a significant increase in services completing Early Help Assessments requiring support for young people and their families. As a response to the increase in demand Bedford Borough Council’s Early Help Service would like to implement a volunteer mentoring scheme as a cost effective way of increasing the capacity of its offer.
Many young people lack guidance and positive role models in their life. This can lead to poor educational outcomes due to disengagement or even criminal activity.
This programme is designed to support and compliment the Early Help offer by supporting young people to make informed and positive life choices. By doing this we can prevent young people from entering adulthood with no or few qualifications and avoid further cost to the public purse by empowering, supporting and encouraging them through difficult times to achieve independence, self-worth, motivation and social and educational skills.
Mentoring for young people is pivotal in ensuring a positive future for young people at risk of negative outcomes and demonstrating risky behaviours.
The proposed new service will deliver a family based approach. Mentoring will primarily focus on the young person. In addition, around 10% of mentoring time will be undertaken with the immediate family to ensure the developmental needs of young people are clearly understood. A minimum of 360 hours of one-to-one mentoring will be provided throughout the academic year.
Although there are no set hours of mentoring that each young person will receive it is anticipated that 12hrs of mentoring would be an average length of intervention. The mentoring outcomes will be reviewed 6 weekly to ensure the intervention remains focused on the identified goals/outcomes.
Below are some guidelines for the Provider to consider.
• An average of 12 hours of mentoring per young person
• A minimum of 10 Mentors available to be matched to young people.
• 30 Young People per year receiving mentoring.
The mentoring service will be young person centred and asset focused. The offer should focus on a variety of different factors which should be identified as and when the service is requested. Areas of mentoring should be focused on the youth star:
Outcome Areas: The Youth Star captures where young people are and their progress in six areas of their lives:
• Making a difference
• Hopes & dreams
• Education & work
• Choices & behaviour.
Training and accreditation for the youth star will be provided by Bedford Borough Council Early Help Team. Further information regarding the youth star can be found in appendix 1 and by visiting www.outcomesstar.org.uk
Service delivery model
Referrals to this service will be way of the completion of an Early Help Assessment (EHA). Once an EHA is completed and screened, the assessment will be subject to the Early Help allocations process. This occurs on a daily basis and comprises of a group of professionals reviewing the assessments. The allocation process will be responsible for the recommendation of mentoring and all cases identified will be sent to the provider for matching.
The programme will be coordinated in such a way that all volunteer mentors receive regular case management support, advice and guidance. This case management will be delivered by the Mentoring Service Provider as part of the work. All mentoring interventions should follow a strict process of action plan review to ensure the work remains outcome focused and specific to the needs of the young person. It is essential that mentors are able to recognise that they are not always the person with the skills to address certain aspects that affect a young person’s life. Mentors should support and encourage the mentee to take action and refer to specialist support services as and when required. Mentors will also support and enable the mentee to attend relevant appointments.
Each new volunteer should receive adequate induction training by the provider to ensure the mentors have a clear understanding in the following areas:
• Verbal and non- verbal communication skills
• Boundaries and confidentiality
• Listening skills
• Building rapport with the mentee
• Goal setting
• Effective record keeping
• Challenging behaviour
• Positive feedback
• Lone working
• Health and Safety
Essential Training should be provided in the following areas:
• Safeguarding (LSCB training)
• Outcome Star (Early Help workforce development programme)
All volunteers will be suitably skilled to work with a vulnerable child / young person and will have access to the free Early Help Workforce Development Offer that includes a variety of evidence based courses that will be available free of charge. All mentors will be subject to a rigorous selection process with the inclusion of an enhanced DBS check and references. All costs incurred are the responsibility of the provider. During recruitment the provider will ensure the qualities outlined below are apparent in the mentors who are recruited.
Qualities of a mentor
• A desire to work with and be accessible to mentees
• Warmth, openness and patience
• Willingness to listen
• To service as an advocate, coach and listener on personal, school and other issues
• To be a positive role model
• To be a guide
• To be a challenger
• To be reliable
• To be consistent
• To focus on their mentee
• To have respect for the family
• To maintain confidentiality
• To use effective praise
• To respect cultural differences
• To respect socioeconomic diversity
• To empower their mentee
• Understand the mentees reluctance to trust
• Offer reassurance and support
• Suggest ways to solve problems
• Identify mentees interests and take them seriously
• Do not force a mentee to talk about personal issues too early
• Have realistic expectations
• Try to relate to your mentees personal experiences
• Understand the mentees family and culture
• To be on time for appointments
• Avoid being judgemental
• To be able to reflect on their own practice and adjust this accordingly if needed
Whilst there is no upper age limit of mentors the minimum age should be 18 yrs. All mentors will be able to demonstrate to the provider that they have knowledge, experience and relevant training in order to effectively act as positive role model for mentees.
The needs of the mentee will remain paramount within the process and an assessment of need should reflect this. The following will be taken into account to ensure the best match with a mentor – gender, age, language, availability, needs, interests, and life experience. When a match has been initially sourced a meeting should take place alongside the mentor, young person, and their family. The mentor should remain with the mentee throughout the programme. Only in exceptional circumstances should the mentor be altered, as this would put the trust built up at risk. The provider will always ensure the mentee is aware of the proposed change and an adequate transition plan will be agreed prior to the change.
Prior to the first meeting, mentors will discuss with the professional making the referral the challenges that the mentee faces along with their strengths. From this the desired outcomes will be set out. A confirmation telephone call should be made with the mentee and his/her parents/carers prior to the initial meeting.
Mentees should always be introduced with the service co-ordinator or other relevant professional present on the first occasion. Where possible this meeting should also involve the parent(s)/carer(s). Where this is not possible a separate initial meeting should be undertaken with the service co-ordinator/relevant professional, mentor and parents. An explanation about the service and expectations about the mentees engagement in the programme should be set out. At this stage the length and frequency of the mentoring should be agreed.
The mentee should agree at this stage whether they are happy with the mentor they have been matched to.
Parental consent will be obtained at the meeting with the parents. This will always be in writing and clearly set out the nature of the service, and the areas that will be addressed
From day one of the support, mentors should seek to involve parents/carers in the following ways:
• Support them to actively engage with their child/young person
• Enable them to access parenting courses as and when appropriate
• Signpost to other agencies
• Mediate between parent and child/young person
• Provide regular feedback linked to their young person as appropriate
• Involve the parent in their young person’s exit strategy
A Mentoring Resource Pack will be provided to all mentors by the provider. The aim of the pack will be to assist mentors to get to know and work with their mentees. It will include a collection of exercises which will help mentors to focus on the area of need identified.
As the relationship develops specific goals should be set based on the desired outcomes set out by the referring professional. These should be SMART and in line with the Youth Star process:
Mentees should be referred to other appropriate support services as and when needs are identified.
Three quarters of the way through the relationship an exit plan should be developed with dates set for ending the relationship. Further support should be put in place if required, once the mentoring service concludes. This should include plans to access local positive activities.
The final quarter of the service provision should be tapered off gradually so that mentees do not experience a sudden loss of their mentor abruptly.
Within the last two weeks of the service there should be a final evaluation of how the mentee has progressed. The Outcome Star (www.outcomesstar.org.uk) will be used to assess progression. The Outcomes Star both measures and supports progress for service users towards self-reliance or other goals. The Stars are designed to be completed collaboratively as an integral part of key work; in this scenario Stars will be completed collaboratively by the mentor and mentee. Successes should be celebrated and further goals set for the mentee post service closure.
Early Help Open Access Youth provision
This contract is to provide a universal drop in youth provision in a range of locations within Bedford Borough two evenings per week during school term time only. This contract recognises that to attract a variety of young people to access informal education by way of youth work, locations will need to be varied. Throughout the length of the contract the provider is required to offer at least 1 evening per month in Kempston Youth Centre. Kempston Youth centre is a multi-function building that includes a fully equipped kitchen, music technology facilities and indoor sports area. The building is used daily by a range of different services which will require the provider to ensure the areas used during the sessions are adequately cleared away following the session. Kempston Youth Centre is a Bedford Borough Council owned property and the up keep, maintenance and all running costs of the building are the responsibility of the Council and not the Youth Provision provider.
There may be opportunities for young people who access the youth provision to access 1-1 mentoring. Any young person identified as requiring the mentor service will access this by way of a referral into Early Help.
This provision will be held using the following parameters;
• The service will be accessible to all 13-19 year olds who live in Bedford Borough (up to 25 for those with a learning disability).
• Venues, day and times of sessions will be varied.
• 2 x 2hr sessions will be held each week (including some weekends) with 30 min preparation time and 30 min debrief per session. Totalling 6hrs per week.
• All sessions should be staffed in line with the NSPCC guidance which is staff to young person ratio of 1:10
It is the responsibility of the provider to ensure that all staff are adequately supervised and supported. The provider will ensure all staff and volunteers are subject to a safe recruitment process and have up to date enhanced DBS certificate and relevant safeguarding children and young people training. A qualified first aider must also be present at each session.
A range of planned activities will be made available by the provider, as well as an opportunity for young people to relax and socialise in a safe environment. Activities may include the music studio, cooking, sports, art & crafts. Professionals from outside organisations will on occasion be booked to come in and deliver informal advice and guidance sessions around drugs & alcohol and sexual health. All costs for the sessions are the responsibility of the provider.
Approximately 60 young people will be registered with the youth club, with an average session attendance of between 20 & 30.
The demographic of the young people will be diverse; those with disabilities, in care, young carers and other vulnerable young people will be encouraged to attend. Young people will be consulted on a regular basis to identify session plans during the life of the contract.
Each session will aim to achieve one of the following outcomes adopted from the Young Foundation Paper, ‘A Framework of outcomes for Young People’. These outcomes will be recorded and evidenced by way of session recording sheets for each session. Session recording sheets should also include footfall numbers and demographics of attendees.
Young Foundation “A Framework of outcomes for Young People”
(Explaining, expressing, presenting, listening, questioning, using different ways of communicating)
• Confidence and Agency
(Self-reliance, Self-esteem. Self-efficacy, self-belief, ability to shape your own life and the world around you)
• Planning & Problem Solving
(Navigating Resources, organising, setting and achieving goals, decision making, researching, analysing, critical thinking, questioning & challenging, evaluating risks, reliability)
• Relationships & Leadership
(Motivating others, valuing and contributing to team-working, negotiating, establishing positive relationships, interpreting others, managing conflict, empathising)
(Imagining alternative ways of doing things, applying learning in new contexts, enterprising, innovating, remaining open to new ideas)
• Resilience and Determination
(Self-disciplined, self-motivated, concentrating, having a sense of purpose, persistent, self-controlled)
• Managing Feelings
(Reviewing, self-awareness, self-reflecting, self-regulating, self-accepting).