Today, the Government has published the programme guide for the 75 local authority areas that are eligible to receive a share of the £301.75 million funding package for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme for the period 2022–2025. The guidance sets out the programme’s vision, objectives and key deliverables. It will be of interest to health visitors in England as well as those responsible for commissioning and delivering services. The guide also contains a range of links to evidence sources which will be of interest to those working in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The programme includes details of how the investment in ‘Start for Life’ announced last autumn will be spent.

Eligible local authorities are being encouraged to ‘be ambitious and present plans which take you further towards the vision of a seamless, integrated offer of support for all families delivered through a family hub model, with tailored support available for those who need it most. This is an exciting opportunity to improve the lives of babies, children and families’.

Alison Morton, iHV Executive Director says:

“This investment in the earliest years of life in 75 selected local authorities is welcomed, and the iHV will be looking to support areas as they design their services, built on the best evidence of ‘what works’.

“We urge the Government to be equally ‘ambitious’ in its next steps and extend this programme of support to all local authorities in England as a national priority.

“The success of this programme will also rest on having sufficient workforce with the right skills to develop and deliver the Start for Life Vision. This will require a demand-driven workforce plan – and, the evidence is clear that we need more health visitors!”

The Government has stated that, ‘this is an exciting opportunity to improve the lives of babies, children and families… [by] working together with delivery partners and families to ensure parents and carers in your area receive the support they need to care for their babies and children’.

The evidence and best practice gathered from this programme will inform the case for future investment and support transformation in the delivery of both family and Start for Life services across the whole of England.


The Institute is delighted to see the launch of the independent evaluation report for the For Baby’s Sake initiative, launched by the Stefanou Foundation in 2015. It is a ground-breaking programme for expectant parents who want to break the cycle of domestic abuse and give their baby the best start in life.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director, Institute of Health Visiting, commented:

“For Baby’s Sake has the power to help to prevent a second pandemic of domestic abuse and poor infant and parental mental health. It has never been more important.”

The evaluation was led by King’s College London and included academics from University of Warwick, University of Cambridge, University of Central Lancashire and McMaster University, Canada.  The academic team evaluated the feasibility, acceptability and impact of For Baby’s Sake in two prototype sites in Hertfordshire and the London boroughs of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, and Hammersmith & Fulham from 2015 – 2019.

The report describes For Baby’s Sake as the first of its kind to ‘fill an important gap in provision’ through ‘its unique approach’ and highlights the positive feedback from mothers and fathers engaging in the programme, as well as the For Baby’s Sake practitioners and professionals from partner agencies.

Learning from health visiting supported the design of For Baby’s Sake, and partnership working between For Baby’s Sake practitioners and heath visitors is an important element of how the programme is delivered.  The For Baby’s Sake team shared their learning from this initiative as part of the expert group who helped to create the Institute of Health Visiting’s new resources on responding to domestic violence and abuse.

Innovative features of For Baby’s Sake include:

  • Starting in pregnancy, to harness the motivations of mothers and fathers to be good parents and give their baby a different start in life from the one they had
  • Both parents joining the programme and each being allocated their own practitioner to work with them separately and therapeutically over an extended period, until their baby is aged two
  • Practitioners working together to develop a holistic picture of the issues for all members of the family and understand better any risks and safeguarding issues
  • Having no goal in principle about parents staying together or separating.  The evaluation noted how this empowered parents, including those who expected to stay in the relationship but found personal growth instead
  • Combining evidence-based approaches to address domestic abuse and the impact of parents’ own childhood trauma, alongside parenting interventions for mothers and fathers, focused on sensitive, attuned interaction with their babies.

A summary of the evaluation report is available by clicking here and the full report can be accessed at

Yes! How exciting! It’s only 3 weeks until the annual iHV evidence-based practice conference 2019 – Health for All Children Now. It’s very busy in the office finalising all the arrangements for the day – but we are really looking forwards to welcoming all our delegates, poster presenters and speakers to the event.

If you’ve not booked your ticket yet, then please do hurry as there are not many left! Our last conference was sold out, and nearly all the tickets are already sold for Health for All Children Now! The last few are remaining – so please do not miss out!

The conference programme is looking awesome, with inspiring and expert speakers giving updates. Our great line up of expert speakers includes:

  • Professor Alan Emond, Editor, Health for All Children 5th Edition and Professor of Child Health, Bristol University
  • Dr Paul Williams MP, Chair of the First 1000 Days of Life inquiry for the Health & Social Care Select Committee
  • Professor Helen Bedford, Professor of Child Public Health, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
  • Professor Vivette Glover, Professor of Perinatal Psychobiology, Imperial College London
  • James McTaggart, Early Years Psychologist, Highland Council
  • Pauline Beirne, National Lead AHP CYP, Scottish Government
  • Dr Ollie Morris, General Practitioner
  • Joe McCulloch, Executive Producer – Language and Literacy, BBC Learning
  • Greg Fell, Director of Public Health, Sheffield
  • Siobhan Freegard, Channel Mums
  • Sophia Collins, Parenting Science Gang
  • Samantha Tucker, The Brain Tumour Charity

And we hope that Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, will also join us.

Join us on 9 May in Manchester for sessions on:

  • Nutrition
  • Supporting UPP families
  • Primary prevention
  • Secondary prevention and identification of impairments
  • Making services work for parents
  • Prevention of harm
  • Developing your research career
  • Children in special circumstances

With tickets almost all sold out, we would not want you to miss out on this super opportunity to come along and hear from some of the chapter authors, as well as the editor, of the newly published Hall for All Children 5th edition.


With popular speakers such as Professor Viv Bennett CBE, Professor Dame Sarah Cowley, Dr Alain Gregoire and Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, we have an amazing programme lined up for this year’s iHV Leadership conference on 4 December.

We also welcome some new speakers covering current issues such as Professor Alan Emond, Dr Jenny Godson MBE and Karl Roberts. In addition, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention has been invited.


Don’t miss the opportunity to attend the iHV Leadership Conference 2018: Leadership for Change!


We aim to RE-ENERGISE, EDUCATE AND MOTIVATE Health visitor leaders and those working with them. 

Come and join us for an inspirational day:

  • Date: Tuesday 4 December 2017 09:00 – 18:30
  • Venue: Wellcome Collection, Euston Road, London NW1 2BE


Earlybird tickets are available until midnight, 31 October 2017!  Don’t miss out – secure your earlybird ticket today!


We look forward to seeing you there.


The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is delighted to announce the launch of its new leadership development programme.

The programme, suitable for health visitors, school nurses, nurses, midwives and other health and social care professionals, aims to develop knowledge, skills and enhance confidence in clinical and public facing leadership.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director of the iHV, said:

“Our new leadership development programme has been informed by recent health visiting research, and is thoroughly tested and evidence-based.  Originally developed for a health visiting and school nursing audience, evaluation of the programme as part of its rigorous testing also suggested it is suitable for other health and social care professionals wanting to develop their leadership skills.”

Delivered over a six-month period, the new programme includes: two days of initial training; followed by two further development half-days to develop a Community of Practice (CoP); and a final summative half-day Community of Practice meeting to review outcomes.

The initial two-day training event develops knowledge and skills in leadership in relation to the health visitor/school nurse/professional as a leader and on leadership in a team and organisation setting. It builds on leadership evidence and incorporates ongoing activities to ensure the programme is delivered within the context that practitioners work in.

Dr Adams continued:

“The programme aims to embed good practice, and promote and strengthen local leadership with integrated services across health and social care boundaries which, in turn, supports the opportunity for good health outcomes for children and families.”

For more information on new iHV evidence-based leadership development programme, please go to our training page or contact [email protected]


New programme reinforces the importance of the profession in the face of government cuts

The vital role that health visitors play in children’s health outcomes has been reinforced by a news-style report programme.

The programme was developed by the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) in collaboration with a partnership between the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and ITN Productions.

It details the breadth of challenges health visitors respond to and the skill required to do so. These include supporting families facing issues ranging from poverty and housing to domestic violence and postnatal depression. Health visitors’ key role is to ensure every child receives the best possible start in life.

Introduced by national newsreader, Natasha Kaplinsky, the programme forms part of ‘The Public’s Health Across The Life Course’ series, coordinated by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and produced by ITN Productions. The series brings to life the journey from cradle to grave and the key public health professionals who make a difference in that period.

The iHV’s programme’s release comes at a crucial time. Health visiting numbers have fallen significantly in England in the last two years, as a result of cuts to public health budgets. This has triggered a restructuring of children’s services by local authorities.

iHV’s executive director, Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, said:

“Through making this programme, we want to raise awareness of the consequences of the on-going cuts to health visitor numbers in England – and the impact on children and families. Health visitors are a critical cog in each child’s journey to adulthood and work to improve public health outcomes for all children, helping to reduce health inequalities across the UK.

“The iHV was delighted to work with the Royal Society of Public Health and ITN Productions partnership to produce such an important programme which visually demonstrates the vital role and impact of health visitors.”

She added:

“Children’s needs seem to have become invisible among the many competing demands being made on the government and the NHS. We want ministers and commissioners to understand that we cannot afford not to invest in our children’s health. They are our future!

“I want to thank Whittington Health and Haringey Children’s Community Service for their support in making this film and all the health visitors and parents who made it possible.”

The Foundation of Nursing Studies (FoNS) is delighted to announce that its new programme, supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, is now open for applications.

This new programme, Inspire Improvement will develop a community of FoNS Improvement Fellows – clinical leaders with expertise in facilitating improvement and culture change at the frontline of practice. Over 12 months, the programme will offer fellows:

  • Six learning and development days
  • Support in the workplace and via telephone/email from a FoNS Practice Development Facilitator
  • A bursary of up to £3,000 to support the development and improvement work

It is aimed at clinical leaders, for example a ward sister/matron, community team leader or care home manager from any area of health and social care in the UK who is leading a nursing and/or care team with direct patient contact and who is the direct line manager for the members of the team. (Must hold a professional UK registration with a relevant regulatory body eg NMC, HCPC.)

Key benefits:

  • Expand knowledge and skills in leading and facilitating culture change and continuous improvement
  • Influence and strengthen team working and facilitate and sustain a workplace culture that is more person-centred, safe and effective

Closing date: 6 November 2017

The NHS Leadership Academy has developed a series of world-leading development programmes for leaders, wherever they are in health and care.

As well as targeted leadership development for those beginning their leadership journey and moving into their first leadership role, they have the following award-winning programmes aimed at aspiring senior leaders in healthcare:

The Nye Bevan programme has been shown to accelerate individuals into executive roles, helping them perform better at board level, and help boards better meet operational challenges today and enable change for tomorrow. The programme has developed over 900 senior leaders to date, with nearly 40% of recent graduates reporting being in a more senior role, which 90% directly attribute to the programme.

The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme is a unique healthcare leadership programme aimed at mid to senior level leaders, leading to an NHS Leadership Academy Award in Senior Healthcare Leadership and a Masters in Healthcare Leadership. From the last three intakes, almost 50% of participants reported that they’d been promoted during the programme, with over 90% attributing this to learning. 

Find out exactly how these programmes are structured and how to apply here. 

Foundation of Nursing Studies and General Nursing Council for England and Wales Trust Practice-Based Development and Research Programme

Call for Applications

Practice-based research and development is an opportunity for nurses to understand more about their work and the experiences of patients, and use this to ensure that patients’ needs are identified and met. However, whilst there is growing interest in using practice-orientated research methodologies, nurses in practice need support to further develop their knowledge and skills in order to use such approaches.

The programme

Supported by FoNS in partnership with the General Nursing Council for England and Wales Trust, this practice-based development and research programme aims to support nurse-led healthcare teams over a period of two years, to work together with patients, staff and wider stakeholders to undertake an action research project in a clinical setting to achieve improvements in patient care.

Who can apply?

Any registered nurses, health visitors, or other specialist community nurses working in clinical practice in England and Wales who can demonstrate evidence from practice to support the need for their project and who are committed to working systematically and collaboratively.

What does the programme offer?

The programme offers support and facilitation to plan, implement and evaluate effective actions; seminars/workshops; funding of up to £5,000 and help with sharing and publication.

Closing dates for applications: 19th February 2014