The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) is committed to giving every child in our region the opportunity to thrive. That’s why in Summer 2021, NTCA’s Cabinet approved two pilot programmes, the Child Poverty Prevention Pilot and the Education Improvement pilot for the North of Tyne.
Working with local authority partners and school leaders, we have developed a Child Poverty Prevention Programme made up of three pillars:
The approach is currently being piloted in almost 90 schools and with 30 employers across North of Tyne. During next academic year (2023-24), the programme will be expanded and developed to support 120 schools and 45 employers in total.
1.What does the programme of poverty interventions look like?
We know that interventions work best when they are tailored, evidence-based and make use of trusted community settings and expertise. For this reason, NTCA commissioned Rocket Science to gain an understanding of existing poverty interventions across our area; what works well, what doesn’t and what can we learn from national best practice.
Participating schools can choose from interventions such as Poverty Proofing© audits, supported review of school uniform policy into practice, afterschool clubs, family learning or bespoke support. A Child Poverty Prevention steering group made up of expert stakeholders are guiding this pillar and the programme activity more widely.
2.Why and how are we bringing welfare rights advice and support directly into school settings?
By providing easy access to welfare guidance, we aim to support families to better support themselves. Across our constituent authorities, we know there is strong existing practice offering individuals advice and guidance. Following a pilot in the Greater London Authority, we are bringing this advice and guidance into schools at a greater scale, across all phases, making it easy for parent/carers to access and acknowledging the positive relationships schools have developed with parents.
We have partnered with three organisations to support families in each of our constituent authorities (Newcastle Welfare Rights Service, Citizen’s Advice Northumberland and North Tyneside Citizen’s Advice) and their teams are working to suit the needs of each individual school and community in the programme, to maximise access to support for families.
3.What role can employers have in tackling child poverty?
Data tells us that employment is not always a route out of poverty. Besides paying a decent wage, employers can take practical steps to support employees experiencing financial insecurity.
The Working with Employers pillar of the Child Poverty Prevention Programme is being delivered by social enterprise Society Matters cic. Society Matters’ approach involves supporting employers across the North of Tyne area to step up their support to employees, particularly in developing strategies to improve their financial wellbeing. The Society Matters team has developed a Poverty Reduction Framework for employers, which will be tested and evolve with understanding of regional best practice.
This pillar involves encouraging all employers across North of Tyne to reflect on working practices and to participate in a series of workshops to inform their own strategies. Here , businesses across the North of Tyne can book to attend employer workshops and find helpful resources relating to this work.
Employers across the North of Tyne will be invited to participate in the programme, with a priority focus on those that have a high proportion of lower-paid employees with families. In part this will be through liaison with employers attached to local schools that are being supported through other aspects of the Child Poverty Prevention Programme, and working in partnership with North East Chamber of Commerce and local business networks, as well as employers that have signed up to NTCA’s Good Work Pledge.
NTCA’s Good Work Pledge is free to join and supports businesses on their journey to being recognised as a ‘Good Work’ employer. This means work that provides job security, skills, progression, and decent pay- which are all important in addressing the causes of child poverty in our region.
For more information about the Child Poverty Prevention Pilot Programme, please contact email@example.com