Taking the 'next steps' together

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) National Unit is committed to transforming the life chances of the most vulnerable children, young people and families in our society. We are now embarking on an ambitious and exciting development programme in England – ‘FNP: Next Steps’. This work will involve everyone in the FNP community – family nurses, teams, commissioners, providers and clients, as well as other experts and academics and will build on the excellent practice and good outcomes achieved already by the programme.

We want to take the opportunity to learn from the recent randomised control trial of FNP in England, together with other evidence, to develop FNP so that it can help achieve the best possible outcomes for vulnerable families in this country and in today’s context while being delivered in a more flexible way – personalised to the strengths and risks of individual first time young mothers and better integrated with local services. At the same time FNP will continue to offer a clear, evidence-based structure; enable the positive long-term therapeutic relationship between family nurses and vulnerable families which can help transform lives; and build on promising findings in relation to child development, maternal self-efficacy and the early identification of safeguarding risks.

We have already started work on FNP: Next Steps after talking with FNP supervisors, local authority commissioners, NHS and non-NHS providers, experts, academics and others to help frame our thinking. With the help of some teams, we have developed guidance to help sites change their eligibility criteria for FNP, widening the age range up to 24, and enabling them to target a narrower group of clients according to vulnerability. Data dashboards are already available at a local authority level and in the coming weeks and months we will also be sharing with FNP teams a tool to help demonstrate impact in each local area around child development and safeguarding outcomes. We will also release refreshed diet and nutrition guidance, new e-learning packages (coproduced with experts in the field), and further support to help clients stop smoking during pregnancy. All FNP areas will have access to this work, and there are lots of opportunities for people to work with us on this.  

Many elements of FNP are complex and lend themselves to a more intensive approach to design, testing and scaling. We are therefore working with a small group of ADAPT (Accelerated Design and Programme Testing) sites from around the country, along with our partners the Dartington Social Research Unit (DSRU), to co-develop and rapidly test a number of more complex changes over the next 18 months. We hope that promising innovations will be identified quickly, so we can release them to the wider FNP community as fast as possible. We will keep everyone up to date on the work on ADAPT as it develops via our dedicated FNP: Next Steps web page.

As part of this work, we will think about how FNP can fit well with different local service contexts, and personalise the programme to the individual strengths and needs of each client, which may lead to a shorter or less intense programme for some clients. 
We will be working closely on FNP: Next Steps with our consortium partners (The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, DSRU and Impetus - Private Equity Foundation), in addition to the Department of Health, Public Health England and the Local Government Association. We are delighted to also be working with the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘A Better Start’ programme on this work.