This website would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to enable this website to function correctly. One of the cookies we use is vital to the operation of the site and this is already in use. You may delete and block all cookies from this site but if you do so then parts of the site may not work for you. To find out more about the cookies on this site please see our cookie policy.

JSNA Chapter: Children Living in Poverty ARCHIVED

Section: Deprivation
Next Review Date: 31/03/2019
Date Published: 16/08/2011

Return to JSNA contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Who's at risk and why?
  3. The level of need in the population
  4. Current services in relation to need.
  5. Projected service use and outcomes in 3-5 years and 5-10 years.
  6. Evidence based (what works and what does not work)
  7. Unmet needs and service gaps
  8. Equality Impact Assessment
  9. Recommendations for Commissioning
  10. Recommendations for needs assessment work
  11. Key contacts
  12. Chapter References
  13. Signed off by





MAY 2015: This chapter was originally published over three years ago, and was developed on the back the Surrey Families in Poverty Needs Assessment and related strategy. Although the statistics in the chapter are out of date, the needs and recommendations raised are still relevant, which is why this chapter still remains available. We are currently in the process of developing the next version of this chapter (Families in Need), which will be completed and made available in due course.

Although Surrey is a prosperous county, by the latest National Government figures measuring child poverty, 9.9% of the 0-19 population in Surrey are living in poverty. This equates to 23,090 children and young people, and these children and young people are often concentrated within particular geographical areas of the county. National and Surrey research shows that these children and young people are more likely to experience poorer educational, health and social outcomes compared to their more affluent Surrey peers.

The official Government measure of child poverty is National Indicator 116 (NI 116) which is the proportion of children aged 0-19 living in families in receipt of out of work benefits or in receipt of tax credit where their reported income is less than 60% of the median income. However, with the National Indicator set being abolished, it is also prudent to look at NI 116 alongside other measures that exist such as the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI)(1) , Child Wellbeing Index (CWI)(2) and Free School Meals (FSM)(3) , as data on all three will continue to be collected.

Key issues and gaps

The proportion on children and young people in poverty in Surrey compares favourably to that of its statistical neighbours, as indicated in the table below. But despite the overall rate of child poverty in Surrey being relatively low, in 2008 there were since approximately 23,090 children and young people aged 0-19 living in poverty in Surrey or 9.9% of the 0-19 population(4).

Table 1: Surrey and statistical neighbours - Proportion of children aged 0-19 living in poverty

 Surrey and Statistical Neighbours    

 NI 116 (2008)

 No. of 0 -19 year olds




 Hertforshire County Council



 Cambridgeshire County Council



 Oxfordshire County Council



 Hampshire County Council



 Buckinghamshire County Council



 Bracknell Forest (Unitary Authority)



 West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)



 Windsor & Maidenhead (Unitary Authority)



 Surrey County Council



 Wokingham (Unitary Authority)



The number of children and young people in poverty may have increased further as the full effects of the recession are felt, which would signify a greater demand for a range of services that support low-income families.

Recommendations for Commissioning

  • Improve the economic position of Surrey’s families in poverty by raising parental aspirations and skills for employment, and supporting parents’ to provide for their children.
  • Mitigate the negative impacts of child poverty by improving outcomes and life chances through effectively targeted preventative and early intervention approaches.
  • Ensure that families on low-incomes and those at risk of entering poverty have access to timely and effective financial advice.
  • Engage local partners and communities in developing local responses to child poverty within identified areas of deprivation.

Return to chapter contents

Who's at risk and why?

Children and young people in specific geographical areas

Surrey’s appearance as a wealthy county is deceptive, as affluent areas sit alongside pockets of deprivation masking the extent of the problem at more local levels. There are specific geographical areas of Surrey where risk of child poverty are high. At a district and borough level, proportions significantly with the highest proportion of 0-19s in poverty at 13.2% found in Spelthorne and the lowest in Mole Valley, at 7.6%. However, it should also be noted that the larger population in Reigate and Banstead means that they have the highest number of children and young people in poverty in the county.

Figure 1: Percentage of children in poverty, by districts and boroughs
Percentage of children in poverty, by districts and boroughs in Surrey (2008 NI 116)

At even more local level, the pockets with the highest proportions of child poverty are scattered throughout the county. With two found in Guildford (Westborough and Stoke wards), one each in Elmbridge (Walton North ward), Epsom & Ewell (Court ward), Reigate & Banstead (Preston ward), Runnymede (Englefield Green West ward), Spelthorne (Stanwell North ward), Surrey Heath (Old Dean ward) and Woking (Maybury and Shearwater ward).

Figure 2: Wards with highest percentages of children in poverty
Wards with highest percentages of children and young people in poverty

Children and young people living in lone parent households

Children in lone parent families are at greater risk of living in poverty than children in couple families. Evidence suggests that moving into employment may be hard for lone parents to manage financially and in relation to care needs(5). Lone parents may be at particular risk of falling into a cycle consisting of part-time or low paid work and unemployment.

In Surrey 74% of all 0-19 year olds in poverty live in a lone parent household, around 17,000 children and young people. Spelthorne borough has the highest proportion of 0-19 year olds living in poverty in a lone parent household; 77% of all children and young people in poverty(4).

Children and young people living in workless households

A lack of income can be central component of poverty and family income is largely determined by the employment status of the parent or parents, therefore children and young people living in workless households are at significant risk. Children and young people living in workless families have a 58% risk of poverty nationally(6).

In Surrey over 16,000 children and young people live in households that receive Job Seekers Allowance , this is around 6% of all 0-19 year olds living in Surrey. In Spelthorne 10% of the population of 0-19s live in households in receipt of Jobs Seekers Allowance(4), the highest proportion in the county, which equates to 2,010 children and young people.

There are also concerns that the extent of poverty experienced by children in this group will worsen as the effects of the recession continue, coupled with changes to the benefits system, including changes to Housing Benefit.

Children and young people living in low-income working households

Although worklessness in the household is often highlighted as a large determining factor of child poverty, national statistics and a national report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have highlighted low-income households as being at significant risk of child poverty. Although no Surrey specific figures exist, the report highlights the fact that the number of children in part-working households has been rising since 2005(7).

It is anticipated that numbers of children in poverty from low-income working households will rise as changes to the benefits system force parents into low-paid employment.

Children under 10 years old

Younger children are more likely to experience poverty because their parents are less likely to participate in the labour market due to caring responsibilities. Nationally, children under five years old are at greater risk of poverty than any other 0-19 age band and they make up 44% of all children in poverty in the UK(5). This proportion is not reflected as significantly in Surrey; children under five years make up 31% of the children and young people in poverty(4). Children aged 10 years or younger are more likely to experience poverty, as 0-10’s make up 64% (14,790) of children in poverty in the county(4). This proportion is representative among all boroughs and districts, with Guildford being slightly higher – where 67% of all 0-19s in poverty are under 10 years old (2,695 children and young people)(4).

Children and young people from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups

All ethnic minority groups in the UK have a higher proportions of poverty compared to the majority white population(8) . Poverty differs among ethnic groups. These differences are often due to labour market disadvantage among some groups, for example the high risk of low pay among Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups(9).

Although the majority of 0-19 year olds in poverty in Surrey are White British because the majority of Surrey’s population is White British, children and young people are more likely to experience poverty if they are from Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black African and Gypsy / Roma or Traveller backgrounds. The proportion of 0-19s in poverty as a total of each of these ethnic groups is much higher than for White British children and young people(10).

Table 2: Proportion of pupils in each ethnic group who are living in poverty (IDACI rank in bottom 30% nationally)(11)


 Ethnic Group

 Total Pupils

 No. of pupils living in poverty

 Pupils living in poverty as a % of total ethnic group size


 Asian or Asian British





 Asian or Asian British





 Asian or Asian British




 Any Other Asian Background

 Asian or Asian British




 Black African

 Black or Black British




 Black Caribbean

 Black or Black British




 Any Other Black Background

 Black or Black British









 White and Asian

 Mixed / Dual Background




 White and Black African 

 Mixed / Dual Background




 White and Black Caribbean

 Mixed / Dual Background 




 Any Other Mixed Background

 Mixed / Dual Background




 Any Other Ethnic Group

 Any Other Ethnic Group




 White - British





 White - European





 White - Irish





 Traveller of Irish Heritage





 Gypsy / Roma





 Any Other White Background





 Information Not Yet Obtained

 Information Not Yet Obtained


















*Pupils under five years where ethnicity data is not statutory

  • The data shows the majority (80.7%) of school children who are living in poverty are White British (9,558 children).
  • Whilst there are higher numbers of White British school children in poverty, there are a much greater proportion of children from other ethnic groups in poverty. Groups with the highest proportions in poverty are Pakistani children (29.8%), Bangladeshi (26.4%) and Black African (25.5%). This means these groups are more likely to experience poverty than their White British peers.
  • There is also a relatively high proportion of Gypsy / Roma children in poverty (20%). This figure is likely to be higher due to numbers of Gypsy / Roma children not taking part in secondary education and issues around recording Gypsy / Roma pupils as a distinct group.

Children and young people with a disability

Disabled children are more likely than their non-disabled peers to live in poverty as a result of lower incomes, because parents need to look after disabled children and so are much less likely to be in paid work and also they face the impact of disability-related additional costs (an impact which is not captured by official figures). It is estimated that nationally 29% of families with disabled children are in poverty and 55% of families with children with disabilities are living in or at the margins of poverty(5) .

Although children with a disability comprise a small percentage of the total group of children in poverty, a large proportion of these children experience poverty. Estimates indicate that there are between 8,227 and 13,535 disabled children and young people in Surrey. Reigate & Banstead and Guildford have the largest numbers of children and young people with a disability at borough level, as these have the most Disability Living Allowance claimants aged 0-17 years. Numbers of children and young people with a disability are expected to rise, as there was been an increasing trend between 2003 and 2009(12).

For more information on children with disabilities refer to JSNA Chapter: Children with disabilities.

Young people leaving care

Young people leaving care are likely to face multiple disadvantages including poverty. This is a consequence of their pre-care, in-care, leaving care and after-care, ‘life course’ experiences(13). Young people leaving care often experience low levels of educational attainment and lower post-16 participation than their peers, which is compounded by restricted training and labour market opportunities.

Latest data shows there are 657 care leavers in Surrey(14) and in the past ten years there has been a steady increase in care leavers, which slowed in 2010. Around half of care leavers reside outside Surrey and the majority have a personal advisor, who provides advice, support and guidance through a ‘pathway plan’(15).

At the age of 19, only 19% of care leavers are in further education compared to 38% of all young people(16).

Return to chapter contents

The level of need in the population

There are a number of factors that can either cause or exacerbate poverty for families with dependent children and these tend to be centred on the economic, health or social situation of the parent(s). The various forces that drive or contribute to child poverty in Surrey are set out as follows:

Unemployment and the job market

One of the most important factors influencing the economic position of parents is the range of employment opportunities open to them. These opportunities can translate into jobs and can be the most effective way of raising parents out of poverty.

79% of Surrey’s estimated working age population are economically active, that is to say in employment or officially unemployed. But between April 2007 and March 2010, the percentage of those in employment fell from 78.4% to 75.4%; which is a relatively greater fall in the employment rate than either national or regional(17) rates.

There are an estimated 608,000 jobs in Surrey and this is enough to employ 86% of the county’s workforce, which is higher than the regional (82%) and the national (79%) averages. This means that the job market in Surrey is performing well, particularly in Mole Valley where the job density rate is 102%. The lowest rates are in Epsom & Ewell (71%), Spelthorne (76%) and Elmbridge (78%). However, this does not mean that Surrey residents are all able to gain employment within the county, or that unemployment is not an issue. However, there is no data looking at how far the jobs available match the skill set of the unemployed, locally.

The unemployment rate for Surrey is estimated at 4.8%(18)--some to 27,800 people, which is lower than the regional (6.3%) and Great Britain (7.9%) rates. The borough with the highest estimated unemployment rate is Surrey Heath at 6.0%, the lowest rate is Mole Valley at 4.4%. There are no comparable statistics available at ward level.

Figure 3: Unemployment levels in the boroughs and districts
Unemployment levels in the boroughs and districts

As an additional snapshot, in August 2010 there were 5,007 unfilled JobCentre vacancies, with 2.4 JSA claimants to each unfilled vacancy(19), indicating that there is significant competition for jobs. There is also variation in how fierce competition for jobs are in specific roles. In particular, there was high demand for ‘manager and senior official’ and ‘administrative and secretarial’ roles, reflecting the nature of the recent recession.

Figure 4: Proportion of low-level employment in the districts and boroughs
Percentage of low-level employment in the districts and boroughs

11.6% of Surrey’s workforce is in the lowest levels of employment, this equates to 64,400 people(20). It is at these lower levels of employment where in-work poverty can occur. Guildford borough has the highest proportion of its residents in low-level employment. Largest proportions at ward level are Maybury & Sheerwater (26.4%), Old Dean (26.2%), Stoke (24.5%), Westborough (22.7%) and Preston and Stanwell North both at (21.5%)(21).

Low/no qualifications or skills in parents

Parents may experience difficulties gaining and sustaining employment due to low skills or having no qualifications. Improving education, training and skills is an important way in which parents can raise their employability and become more competitive in the job market. 7.8% of the Surrey working age population has no qualifications at all (55,400 people)(21). Therefore to tackle poverty Surrey residents need access to educational institutions and local employers with a commitment to a well-trained, highly skilled workforce. Educational institutions in all of the boroughs offer adult education facilities, although access to these facilities may be limited for some parents due to transport issues. This is a particular concern with most of the accredited courses on offer usually being available on main campuses in large towns and cities, so those who are in financial difficulty in rural Surrey could potentially miss out(22).

Insufficient childcare (23)

Childcare provision for children under five years old is particularly significant when encouraging parents to continue working. Therefore understanding the childcare situation in the county and ensuring the correct information is disseminated to those who need it is important when examining the needs of families in or at risk of poverty.

Overall, 35% of parents report that they are not using as much childcare as they would like to allow them to work or train. Most of these parents report that the cost of childcare inhibits them from taking it up. Most of these parents would use after school care or day nurseries more if they were more affordable.

Childcare provision for children under five years old is particularly important when encouraging parents to continue working. In the summer term 2010, 99% of three-year-old children and 128% of four-year-old children accessed the Early years free entitlement (these percentages allow for children living out of county). In the last two years, the entitlement has increased from 12.5 hours per week to 15 hours per week and parents can opt to access the hours more flexibly.

In Surrey, on average there are 44 general preschool places for every 100 children aged 0 to 4 years (this only includes day nursery, preschool playgroup, nursery units of independent school places and pre-school childminding places in private, voluntary and independent sectors). This is a high level of provision that appears to meet demand. A recent survey carried out by the EYCS found that only 7% of parents that contacted the FIS looking for childcare could not find any that suited them. Just over half of parents that had trouble finding childcare were looking for places for 0 to 2 year olds.

Overall there are 16 out of school childcare places for every 100 children aged 5 to 14 years. Out of school childcare includes, breakfast clubs, after school clubs, holiday play schemes, and childminding places. Parents report that they would use more before and after school services if they were affordable and offered on their child’s school site. They need services that offer opening hours that would allow them to work or train. 53% maintained schools catering to children aged 5 to 11 years offer out of school childcare on site. A further 17% of these schools have arranged pick up services to off-site out of school provision. 30% of schools do not have access to on or off-site out of school childcare group providers. Childminders cater to most of these. There are 7 schools in Surrey that do not provide access to out of school childcare services, including childminders.

There is also a demand for before and after school care for disabled children.

Although both inclusive and specialist childcare provision is available in Surrey, parents highlight the need for more. Parents identify the need for different types of services:

  • Specialist holiday play schemes
  • Inclusive local after school clubs
  • Specialist after school clubs
  • Short break services such as care in the home (Family Link), a buddy scheme and overnight stays
  • Activity and sports based schemes
  • Inclusive youth clubs
  • Specialist youth clubs

While some parents are unable to work because of their caring responsibilities, some parents of disabled children are prevented from taking on paid employment because of a lack of suitable childcare provision in the county.

There is a lack of available specialist holiday play scheme places across the county. Because of high demand from parents for places, sometimes parents fail to get booked onto some schemes. Parents, who successfully enrol, are not allocated the number of days or weeks that they require.

Parents would like to see current specialist holiday schemes open for more weeks in the year, including Christmas holidays. Parents often have to travel long distances to access services so they would like schemes to offer longer opening hours so they can drop their children off and still have enough time to work, catch up on chores, spend time with their other children, or rest before they need to collect their children.

There is a demand for before and after school care for disabled children. However, parents are concerned that transportation issues will prevent the development of out of school services. Parents would use after school clubs either at their child’s special school or at a venue local to them as long as the transport, facilities and resources are arranged to allow this.

Parents would use more respite care or short breaks services if they were available. Parents recognise the value of these services to the whole family. They would like carers in their home during after school times, evenings, overnight and weekends. They would also like to use more residential breaks to allow the whole family some respite.

There is a lack of provision suitable for disabled young people. Parents would use activity or sports based schemes, and either specialist or inclusive youth clubs to allow their children to socialise with children their own age.

Parents of disabled children need a reliable, consistent, central point for up-to-date information about childcare and short breaks services. Parents currently rely on word of mouth for this and do not feel well informed.

There is a demand for childcare that is affordable. Lone parents, parents in ethnic minority groups, young parents, parents on lower household incomes, and parents of disabled children find it difficult to afford the childcare they would like to use to allow them to work or train.

Low benefit take-up

Whilst 6.4% of the working age population in Surrey claim some key out-of work benefits(24), some evidence suggests there are also people who are eligible but do not claim. The complexity of the benefits system can cause fear and frustration when parents lack the confidence and understanding to gain their entitlement(22). Data describing families that are eligible for benefits but that do not claim is not currently available.

The impact of poverty on children’s health and wellbeing outcomes

There are correlations between poor child health and wellbeing outcomes and poverty. Children in poverty in Surrey, as elsewhere are more likely to experience poorer outcomes than their more affluent peers. The Surrey Families in Poverty Needs Assessment(25) identified that certain geographical areas with high proportions of child poverty also have the highest instances of poor outcomes. The following factors have a significant relationship with poverty(5)(26):

  • Low Birth Weight: Low birth weights and infant mortality are sensitive indicators of population health and high rates are linked to deprivation(26). Some of the causes of low birth weight for example, poor nutritional status, smoking, and mental health problems are more likely to be experienced by low-income mothers. Impacts on childhood can continue into adulthood and affect adult outcomes. For example, children with low birth weight tend to have a lower IQ, impairing performance in school and job opportunities as an adult(26).
    For further information on low birth weight babies and the prevalence rates, please refer to JSNA Chapter: Health inequalities.

  • Teenage conceptions: According to the Child Poverty Toolkit (2008)(27) there is a very close association between teenage pregnancy and social and economic disadvantage. Teenage parenthood can have a negative impact on a mother’s health and life chances but also on the outcomes of her children: children born to teenage parents have a high risk of poverty and are twice as likely as other individuals to become teenage parents themselves, creating intergenerational cycles of deprivation.
    For further information on prevalence of teenage conceptions and parenthood please refer to JSNA Chapter: Teenage pregnancy. 

  • Mental health disorders: The impact of socio-economic disadvantage on the mental health of children was demonstrated in a national survey, which found higher prevalence rates of mental disorders among children in families with neither parent working, whose parents are social sector tenants, in families with gross weekly household income of less than £200 and whose parents had no educational qualifications(28).
    For further information on mental health disorders please refer to JSNA Chapter: Mental health.

  • Obesity: Children from low-income groups are more likely to become obese than those from the top income groups(29). According to the National Obesity Observatory (NOO) the pattern of socioeconomic inequality and obesity is consistent across a variety of different measures of deprivation when using; the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), the Health Survey for England (HSE) and the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). Obesity is strongly related to socioeconomic status in children and the results are almost entirely consistent across a wide range of different indicators(30) including; the IDACI measure.
    For further information on the prevalence of obesity please refer to JSNA Chapter: Obesity - children.

  • Alcohol, smoking and substance misuse: Children and young people living in poverty in Surrey are likely to experience more substance misuse, including smoking, alcohol and drugs(31). For families on low incomes, the cost of smoking plays a significant role in exacerbating child poverty. Smoking prevalence is highest in population groups least able to afford to smoke, which deepens existing deprivation and social inequalities.
    The disproportionate number of smokers in lower social classes has contributed to the increased health inequalities between rich and poor. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are much more likely to be born to mothers who smoke, suffer greater exposure to secondhand smoke as they grow up, and are much more likely to become smokers themselves. Research also shows that children in lower social classes take up smoking in greater numbers and at an earlier age than those in higher social classes(32).
    For further information and prevalence of smoking and alcohol and substance misuse please refer to JSNA Chapter: Alcohol, JSNA Chapter: Substance misuse and JSNA Chapter: Smoking.

  • Lower educational attainment and not participating in training: Poverty shapes children’s development. Before reaching his or her second birthday, a child from a poorer family is already more likely to show a lower level of attainment than a child from a better-off family. During their years at school, children in receipt of free school meals do worse on average at school than their peers(33). Education is strongly linked to material wellbeing, and young people who leave school with few qualifications are at risk of becoming unemployed or being in low paid employment.
    Evidence suggests individuals who leave schools with low levels of educational achievement and poor basic skills are at a higher risk of experiencing social exclusion as adults. In addition, poor educational attainment has been found to be associated with(34):
    1. Poor access to the labour market in the early stages of working life
    2. Higher risk of spells of unemployment between 16 and 21
    3. Low earnings
    4. Poorer reported general health
    Therefore addressing educational achievement is a critical part of breaking the cycle of poverty. The ‘Hidden Surrey’ (2009) report illustrates a consistent message on what can be done about social deprivation in Surrey and it reinforces the importance of providing training and support to those young people who find themselves NEET.For information on academic attainment please refer to JSNA Chapter: Education.

Return to chapter contents

Current services in relation to need.

There is a range of support available to children, young people and families in poverty in Surrey. Services are focussed on mitigating both the potential causes and effects of poverty and are commissioned and delivered either at a countywide or local level. In A New Approach to Child Poverty: Tackling the Causes of Disadvantage and Transforming Families Lives (2011) Government set out guiding principles to tackle child poverty. These include; improving children’s life chances, making work pay and taking a place-based approach to ensure services are tailored to local need. The following list provides a snapshot of services and initiatives provided by Surrey County Council and its partners, which are categorised by these principles.

  1. Supporting families to achieve financial independence
    • Surrey Welfare Rights Unit (SWRU) Money Matters for Every Child campaign
    • Extended Services Disadvantage Subsidy
    • Citizen’s Advice Bureau
    • Connexions
    • Probation service
    • European Social Fund
    • Surrey County Council Benefits and Charging Team
    • Borough and district councils advice and benefits
    • Discretionary Support Funds
    • Home Access Grant
    • Free Childcare for Training and Learning for Work scheme
    • Job Centre Plus
    • Home-School Link Workers
    • ‘Next Steps’ career advice service
    • The Adult Learning Grant
    • Adult Entitlement to Learning

  2. Supporting family and children’s life chances
    • Family Information Service
    • Sure Start Children’s Centres
    • Schools and Healthy Schools scheme
    • Surrey Care Trust
    • Homestart
    • Bookstart

  3. The role of place and transforming lives
    • Surrey ‘Priority Places’
    • Youth Development Service
    • Supporting People Grant: Young people accommodation and outreach services
    • Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)
    • Sayers Croft Environmental Educational Trust
    • Surrey Scouts

Return to chapter contents

Projected service use and outcomes in 3-5 years and 5-10 years.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), under current national policies the proportion of children and young people living poverty nationally is expected to rise in next 3 years, particularly in 2013-14(34). This assessment by the IFS includes an assessment of the effects of changes to the benefits system. If this forecast is true of the picture of poverty in Surrey then it is expected there will be increased demand on the services listed above.

Return to chapter contents

Evidence based (what works and what does not work)

Since 2008 there has been various Government commissioned reviews and pilot initiatives that, although they are not all completed or fully evaluated, have provided some initial evidence into what works in tackling child poverty. The diverse nature of recommendations and services reflects the complex and multi-faceted nature of child poverty itself. The following gives an overview of what works when tackling child poverty, according to the Child Poverty Unit’s child poverty pilots interim report (2011)(35) and the national child poverty strategy (2011)(36):

Jobcentre Plus outreach

This child poverty pilot aims to address poverty among parents with young children, by engaging them in employment related support and moving them closer to the labour market. It works through the co-location of Jobcentre Plus Personal Advisers full-time into children’s centres. The pilot was designed following previous research(37) by Dench et al. (2008), which found that the greatest impact on parents’ engagement and take-up of employment-related services in children’s centres was observed where there was a Jobcentre Plus adviser available. Interim evidence found that participants welcomed the holistic and person-centred approach of Personal Advisers in children’s centres, in particular the accessibility and convenience of helpful, sympathetic and trust-building advice and support services.

Building financial capability initiatives

The national child poverty strategy stresses the importance of individuals taking control of their finances in order to become financially independent and highlights a number of effective initiatives, including:

  • A free and impartial national money advice service to increase levels of financial literacy delivered through the Money Advice Service (formerly the Consumer Financial Education Body);
  • The encouragement of industry to provide financial products that are easy to understand and compare, including annual statements that set out the costs of servicing a credit card and a new range of simple financial products;
  • Face-to-face debt advice through Citizens Advice Bureaux and other independent agencies to enable individuals facing financial difficulty to get advice early.
  • Credit unions, which bring affordable financial services to people who would otherwise be unable to access them, helping people to save, pay off debts and learn to manage their finances.

Family Nurse Partnerships

The Family Nurse Partnership is an intensive evidence-based programme that improves outcomes for vulnerable children and families(38). It is offered to young mothers, beginning in early pregnancy and ending when the child is two years old. The programme is being delivered in over 50 sites across England and over 6,000 families have benefited.

The national child poverty strategy identifies the Government’s commitment to expanding Family Nurse Partnerships across England, doubling the number of places available by 2015, working alongside health visitors and Sure Start Children’s Centres. The family nurses build supportive relationships with families and guide first-time teenage parents so that they adopt healthier lifestyles for themselves and their babies, provide good care for their babies and plan their futures, helping them to overcome adverse life experiences. Evaluation of the first cohort of children aged 2 years found early signs that the families were very positive about their parenting capability, reporting high levels of warm parenting and low levels of harsh discipline(39).

Family intervention services

Family Intervention Services and other multi-professional models like Westminster’s Family Recovery Project are operating in most local authorities and have helped turn around the lives of thousands of families with multiple problems. The Family Recovery Service in Westminster involves creating a team of practitioners around a high need family. The team will achieve better outcomes for children, young people and their parents by identifying their problems at an earlier stage and implementing effective and intensive multi-agency plans. Families are required to agree ‘Contracts with Consequences’ which set out the expectations of them and the consequences, including statutory action if they do not comply.

Family intervention projects can reduce child poverty, antisocial behaviour, truancy, and youth crime, keeping children and young people out of the care system, and get them back into school and college. Intensive family interventions have also had some success in preventing family breakdown(40).

Community entrepreneurs

The national child poverty strategy highlights the Tyne Gateway Community Entrepreneurs scheme as a good practice example of a social enterprise that transforms individual’s lives. In North and South Tyneside parents at risk of poverty have trained to become Community Entrepreneurs. Once trained, they develop sustainable community-based projects in partnership with local employers, who offer employment pathways for low-income families. Qualitative evidence suggests the initiative has had a transformational impact upon the Community Entrepreneurs’ employability and well-being.

Community budgets

In the national child poverty strategy the Government highlights the effectiveness of Community Budgets. Community Budgets organise public spending by local area rather than by individual organisations or services. This makes it much easier for local leaders, working with their communities, to take an overview of the needs of their community, decide how money should be spent more effectively and provide innovative, integrated solutions to difficult problems.

Salford City Council and partners have been developing a Community Budget approach to enhance existing joint agency Working Neighbourhood Teams. These have been active in the City’s most deprived areas and focus on delivering more joined up and localised support on the key causes of poverty. It includes a focus on complex families, offending and anti-social behaviour as well as worklessness and income poverty. Partners have been highly engaged in this work and have made a high level commitment to reform at three levels.

Return to chapter contents

Unmet needs and service gaps

Initial findings around geographical pockets of deprivation existing alongside relative affluence indicate that services to tackle poverty could be more effectively coordinated and targeted, and that awareness of existing support may be low in some areas.

Comparing existing and projected poverty need with the level of service provision in order to identify gaps or duplication in provision is challenging due to the complexity of poverty itself and its’ cross cutting nature. To develop a clearer picture of this, thorough service mapping must be undertaken in relation to the recommendations set out below.

Return to chapter contents

Equality Impact Assessment

In March 2011 an initial equality impact assessment (EIA) was undertaken on the Families in Poverty Strategy’s strategic objectives, based on the ‘recommendations for commissioning’, as set out below. The initial EIA concluded that whilst the objectives do not have a negative impact on any equality strands, there are some strands where the impact is uncertain. For example the relationship between poverty and sexual orientation and religion and belief has not been explored. Therefore a full equality impact assessment will be undertaken as the strategy is developed further.

Return to chapter contents

Recommendations for Commissioning

In March 2011 a needs assessment of child poverty in Surrey was completed. Evidence from this needs assessment informed a set of strategic recommendations, which identify what needs to be achieved in order to tackle child poverty in Surrey. These strategic recommendations have been endorsed by Surrey County Council Cabinet and the Surrey Alliance for Children, Young People and Families and are set out as follows:

  1. Ensure unemployed parents receive timely advice and support, including specialist support for vulnerable cohorts such as young parents.
  2. Develop a greater focus on job quality to ensure work is an effective route out of poverty.
  3. Ensure there is sufficient affordable childcare so that parents can work.
  4. Combat intergenerational unemployment by raising aspirations and skills of low-income parents.
  5. Ensure children and young people for whom the local authority has a corporate responsibility; looked after children and those with a disability are fully supported and their education and skills are maximised so they can become economically productive adults.
  6. EYCS to reduce the educational attainment gaps from 0-5years, in line with recommendations from the Frank Field Review.
  7. Work with schools/colleges in line with emerging recommendations from Field/Allen reviews to narrow attainment gaps.
  8. Continue to reduce the numbers of NEET young people through the NEET strategy.
  9. Partners should work together to ensure the needs of children in poverty are incorporated in all strategies, service planning and delivery. This should include the needs of the at risk groups identified in the child poverty needs assessment, and also those children and young people known to social care, whose circumstances are complex and may relate to poverty.
  10. Narrow the gap in outcomes and improve life chances by ensuring families are aware of and have access to services that help to resolve conflicts and reduce family breakdown. This should include the needs of identified at risk groups.
  11. Improve the financial capability of families by delivering debt/money management programmes, targeted towards at risk and highest need parents, and also sessions for children and young people e.g. in schools.
  12. Develop a 'benefits maximisation' approach that will ensure parents have the support they need to claim full entitlement to eligible welfare benefits, including housing support to prevent homelessness. Ensure relevant training for staff from all agencies working with low-income families to adopt the approach.
  13. Agencies to work in partnership to agree local action plans within identified areas of deprivation. Plans should be tailored to families’ needs and targeted towards identified at risk groups and geographical areas. In line with localism agenda, support the development of local social and peer support networks
  14. Reduce the need for families to live in temporary accommodation by supporting them to maintain their existing tenancy wherever possible.
  15. Work with partners to ensure that families on low incomes can access affordable arts and leisure activities.
  16. Ensure the health visitor call to action agenda is aligned to the families in poverty work
  17. Explore alternatives to the family nurse partnership model.

Return to chapter contents

Recommendations for needs assessment work

  • Explore the current offer of support to families in poverty, and how this might be built upon as a result of the Families in Poverty Needs Assessment.
  • Data should be made available that indicates the number of parents that are eligible or entitled to welfare benefits but that do not claim for support. This should be explored by different agencies sharing information .
  • PREview to support intelligence for future work.
Return to chapter contents

Key contacts

Return to chapter contents

Chapter References

    1. - Figures used for IDACI were 2007 (most recent at the time)
    2. - Figures used for CWI were 2009 (most recent at time)
    4. HMRC (2010) 2008 NI 116 data Personal Tax Credits / Child Poverty Statistics
    5. HM Treasury (2008) Ending Child Poverty: Everybody’s Business
    6. Households Below Average Income 2005-06
    8. Platt, L. for DWP (2009) Ethnicity and Child Poverty
    9. Harker, L. for DWP (2006) Delivering Child Poverty: What will it take?
    10. NI 116 does not offer detailed enough data relating to BME groups in Surrey, therefore the data here uses the IDACI as a measure of deprivation that indicates poverty.
    11. Performance, Quality and Audit, Children, Schools and Families: Surrey County Council (2010) School Census Information
    12. Surrey County Council (2010) Needs Assessment of Children with Disabilities in Surrey. Strategy and Commissioning: Children Schools and Families
    13. Child Poverty Toolkit (2009) Policy Brief: At greatest risk of poverty
    14. Surrey County Council (2010) Achieving economic well-being - Looked after children and care leavers data. Performance, Quality and Audit data collection for CSCI and Ofsted
    15. Following an assessment of need, a pathway plan lists the young person’s needs and identifies how those needs will be met, reviewed every six months
    16. Barnardos (2010) Who does poverty affect?
    17. Strategy and Economy Team, Surrey County Council (2010) Surrey Worklessness Assessment data from ONS, Annual Population Survey January 2004 – March 2010
    18. Based on ONS Annual population survey April 2009 – March 2010
    19. Jobcentre Plus vacancies – summary analysis August 2010
    20. ONS annual population survey Jan 2009 – Dec 2009
    21. ONS (2001) Census
    22. Surrey County Council (2010) Tackling Child Poverty Locally Workshops. Children, Schools and Families: Strategy and Commissioning
    23. Surrey County Council Early Years and Childcare Service (2007 and 2010) Childcare Sufficiency Assessments
    24. Department for Work and Pensions benefit claimants, February 2010. This group includes jobseekers allowance claimants, Employment Support Allowance and incapacity benefits, lone parents and others on income related benefits. These groups have been chosen to best represent a count of all those benefit recipients who cannot be in full-time employment as part of their condition of entitlement.
    25. Surrey County Council (2011) Families in Poverty Needs Assessment. Children, Schools and Families: Strategy and Commissioning
    26. NHS Surrey and Surrey County Council (2009) Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
    27. Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion and the Child Poverty Action Group
    28. Green H, McGinnity A, Meltzer H, Ford T, Goodman R. Mental Health of Children and Young people in Great Britain 2004. Office for National Statistics on behalf of the Department of Health and Scottish Executive. Crown Copyright 2005
    29. National Obesity Observatory (2010) NOO Data Briefing: Child Obesity and Socioeconomic Status
    30. Hoxhallari, L, Connolly, A. and Lyon, N. (2007) Families with children in Britain: Findings from 2005 Families and Children Study (FACS) Department for Work and Pensions
    31. Smokefree Surrey (2010) Making Smoking History: Tobacco Control Strategy for 2010-15
    32. Inclusion and the Child Poverty Action Group (2010) Child Poverty Toolkit
    33. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (2004) The Drivers of Social Exclusion: Review of the Literature for the Social Exclusion Unit in the Breaking the Cycles series. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
    34. Institute for Fiscal Studies (2010) Child and Working Age Poverty 2013-14
    35. Evans, M and Gardiner, K on behalf of Department for Work and Pensions (2011) CPU Child Poverty Pilots: Interim synthesis report
    36. Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education (2011) A New Approach to Child Poverty: Tackling the Causes of Disadvantage and Transforming Families’ Lives
    37. Dench et al (2008)
    38. Olds, DL (2006) ‘The Nurse-Family Partnership: an evidence-based preventive intervention.’ Infant Mental Health Journal, 27 (1), 5-25
    39. Barnes J (2010) ‘The Family-Nurse Partnership Programme in England: Wave 1 Implementation in toddlerhood and a comparison between Waves 1 and 2a implementation in pregnancy and infancy’  
    40. Department for Education (2010) ‘Monitoring and Evaluation of Family Intervention Projects to March 2010’ -

Return to chapter contents

Signed off by

Sheila Jones, Head of County-wide Services, Surrey County Council

If you have any feedback/comments please send it to

Return to chapter contents

Updated: 16 March 2017 | Owner: Tricia Boahene
Comments ()   (Log-in to post a comment)