Programme details, including targeted analytics and the Family Outcome Plan.

Think Family is the approach used by the Supporting Families programme, formerly known as Troubled Families. It encourages services to deal with families as a whole, rather than responding to each problem, or person, separately.

The programme was launched in 2011 to help families who struggle with factors such as debt, homelessness, mental health issues, domestic violence, poor parenting, illness or substance misuse.

The Supporting Families programme encourages local councils to work with families facing social issues to minimise risk of these issues escalating and reduce the need for families to access statutory services.

Insight Bristol

Insight Bristol is a data analytics hub with employees from Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. It was set up in 2015 in response to the national Troubled Families Programme. Insight Bristol collects and analyses data to identify vulnerable families across Bristol to better understand the issues they face.

This approach helps us identify families experiencing multiple vulnerabilities and compare data. This creates a new record in the Think Family Database. The information used to create this new record contains identifiable data and it's important to consider:

  • the privacy of the individuals whose information you've used
  • who can access this information

The new record or single view is used by safeguarding professionals to understand the family's vulnerabilities. The single view is a page of information that displays all data in the system for a specific person.

For more information see:

Think Family Database (TFD)

Insight Bristol runs the Think Family Database (TFD), which facilitates multi-agency working by displaying a joined up single view of a child. It pulls together data from around 30 different public sector sources including:

  • Bristol City Council
  • Avon and Somerset Constabulary
  • Department for Education
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • the NHS
  • Sirona Health Systems
  • social care systems

The TFD covers approximately 50,000 families across Bristol and helps to identify risk and vulnerability using the criteria from the Supporting Families programme.

The TFD is used to help safeguarding professionals from Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Constabulary coordinate support for families who are most in need. It also tells us which professionals are working with the family from our partnerships. Sometimes those families are obvious but often they are hidden, so the database tells professionals about issues they might not have seen before. The early identification of, help and support for those hidden families can help prevent their issues turning into crises and protect children.

Targeted analytics

Insight Bristol have developed targeted analytics to help identify children at risk of:

  • sexual exploitation (CSE)
  • criminal exploitation (CCE)
  • not being in education, employment or training (NEET)

The models use analytical techniques which identify at risk young people based on the number of factors they share with other young people who have experienced similar vulnerabilities.  

Data is taken from the TFD, police or local authority systems about the child and their family to determine the risk factors that contribute to an issue.  

The models are not replacing professional judgement or making decisions on their own. They guide and supplement the work of lead professionals and provide information about children at risk that a lead professional may not easily see. This helps us identify the children at risk as soon as possible.

The National Supporting Families Outcome Framework

Since April 2015 all local authorities delivering the Supporting Families programme have been required to have in place a local Supporting Families Outcome Plan.

Following The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) commitment to continue the programme in 2021, a new national framework was developed. It came into effect in October 2022.

Think Family privacy notice

Due to the nature of the work we do and the need to share data between partner organisations, we have a privacy notice.

This is to make sure your data is safe and any sharing doesn't violate the Data Protection Act.

You can read the Think Family service privacy notice on the Safeguarding Privacy and Processing notices page.

pdf How your data is used in modelling (223 KB) .

Contact information

Head of Early Intervention & Targeted Services (Children and Families Services)

Bristol City Council