Family hubs digital project

The Family hubs digital project is a cross-government project. It aims to improve outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people, and families.


12 October 2023


Vulnerable Children and Families Team

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Project overview

We have developed several digital products to improve how professionals and families engage with services in their local family hub network.

Partnership working

We are delivering the project through an iterative, agile process. We are working with a small number of local authorities. These local authorities are helping to develop, test and iterate these digital products.

We are working with:

  • Bristol
  • Lancashire
  • Redbridge
  • Salford

During the discovery phase we identified user needs and developed digital solutions. These digital solutions were then tested in the alpha phase. We are now in the private beta stage. This stage involves piloting the digital products within our partner local authority areas.

Gaining wider input

Our partnership working is supplemented by our local authority co-design group.

We set up the co-design group in September 2022. The group is made up of representatives from local authorities across England. The group all have an interest in supporting families and family hubs. The group brings together a range of experience, roles, and seniority. This provides a deeper understanding of their goals, challenges, preferences, and feedback.

The group has joined in many workshops. This has helped to shape the family hubs digital products, including helping to identify new features, project risks, and communications.

Each member brings with them their own expertise. They also share family hub progress from their own local areas with the group.

Webinar with voluntary and community sector organisations

We recently ran a series of webinars as part of our launch for Connect and Manage. We invited VCS organisations from our partner local authorities, Lancashire and Redbridge. Our aim was to show the use of the products and to talk about the benefits we expect for everyone.

We were thrilled to get a good turnout for the webinars, but we are aware many people could not make it. We are posting the videos here so anyone can view the presentation and see the questions we answered.

If you have any further questions please contact either:

To sign up for user research please contact

Products in test stage

We are testing the ability to search and find support services from a directory.

Find support for your family

Helps families find their local family hubs and support services available to them within their local family hub network.

This service allows families to find and access services themselves. It provides access to preventative support for families, reducing the need for statutory support.

Connect families to support

Professionals who work with families can search for relevant services and then request support on behalf of the family, parent, or young person.

This service allows professionals to share information about families with service providers more efficiently. This will:

  • save time
  • allow professionals to make better-informed decisions
  • help families receive the right support at the right time

Manage family support services and accounts

Helps local authorities and voluntary and community sector (VCS) services manage users and services on Find and Connect.

Service providers can update their service information on the ‘national directory’. The national directory powers both Find and Connect.

Data and sustainability

We know that many local authorities do not have robust, standardized data systems. This will act as a barrier to the adoption of our products at scale.

The project team has used spreadsheets from our partner local authorities to bulk upload service information onto the national directory. This is not ideal nor sustainable.

The use of data standards could make it easier for people to use our products. We are looking into using a single data standard such as Open Referral UK.

The benefits would include making it easier for local authorities to store and share data with us, central and local government, and VCS organizations. This would also allow better integration with existing systems including:

  • Family Information Services (FIS)
  • local internal systems
  • borough and partnership offers
  • regional and national directories

Next steps

We will be launching an early adopter programme at the end of 2023 and will communicate in advance how authorities can take part. We will continue refining and iterating the digital products and work towards wider roll-out. We will then move into the live phase to continue improving the service in a sustainable way.

Get involved email:

Background information

Family Hubs digital is part of the wider family hubs and start for life programme led by DfE and DHSC, which is funding local authorities to implement family hubs.

This page shares the ideas and thinking of the project team at DfE. Please be aware that we cannot respond to questions about the department, policy, or other services.

You can find out more about the DfE’s priorities and policies on GOV.UK, along with how to raise enquiries with the department.