Five London boroughs have received backing from the Big Lottery fund and impact investor Bridges, in a pioneering partnership aimed at keeping young vulnerable people out of care.
The borough councils of Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Bexley, Merton and Newham commissioned the Positive Families Partnership to help more than 350 young people involved in serious antisocial behaviour or substance misuse.
Bridges has delivered more than £4.5m to cover the up-front costs of the programme, while Social Finance UK will provide management support. Bridges invested through a social impact bond – a contract made with the public sector to improve social outcomes which result in savings – and the Positive Families Partnership will only be paid if it reaches certain milestones related to keeping people out of care.
The programme will offer intensive therapy delivered by Family Psychology Mutual, Family Action UK and the South West London & St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, to help address behavioural issues and improve how the family functions.
“We know from our previous experience of working with contracts in this area that these therapies work – if you give the delivery organisations the flexibility and the resources they need to succeed," said Bridges investment director Mila Lukic.
Positive Families Partnership will initially be managed by the borough of Sutton, and will be rolled out beyond the five initial areas if successful.
"Finding better solutions for these young people has become one of our biggest challenges. So we’re really proud that we have been able to join forces with our colleagues in such an innovative project," said Ruth Dombey, the leader of Sutton Council.
"We believe it has real potential to show that when commissioning children’s services, innovation and collaboration can help find new solutions to some of our most difficult social challenges."