At Devon County Council, we’re currently rolling out the Targeted Family Support Initiative.

The initiative was developed by the Government following the riots in August 2011 and will make funding available to work with troubled families, struggling with youth crime, unemployment and antisocial behaviour. In order to provide the level of support needed, we have to work with the NHS, police, probation service, community, and voluntary section, Job Centre Plus, as well as many other agencies and partners across the county. To coordinate this multi-agency response, we needed to find a platform where we could all share information and work together to help troubled families.

There are currently 1,370 families that meet the criteria for a troubled family in Devon. A lot of organisations are working with the same families but have limited ways of sharing information. Here at Devon County Council, we took an innovative approach to solving the problem and started using Huddle so we could share information and collaborate in the cloud.

Huddle removes the barriers to sharing vital information. Before Huddle, it was difficult to share this content across agencies. Some had secure email, but some didn’t, so we couldn’t rely on it when dealing with sensitive information about the families.  Huddle provides us with a platform that is pan-government accredited at IL2, reassuring us that our data is safe and secure in the cloud.

As we’re working with such a large geographic area, we set up some pilot sites to start off with. There are seven in total and each one has a management team in each area that’s responsible for driving the programme locally, a cross-agency practitioner group to do the day-to-day work with the families, and a coordinator overseeing all activity in each region. With its own Huddle workspace, each pilot area can store and share information, helping the agencies get a full picture of each family and improve the services available.

We’re now coming to the end of the first year at Devon County Council. We’re very pleased with the results and confident it will work effectively across the rest of the county.  The programme with Huddle will provide a great example of how to use innovative cloud technology for the rollout of similar projects.


Mark Hammett, Project Manager, Devon County Council

Mark is an experienced project manager who also has a background in education as a mainstream and special school teacher. He has led many high profile public sector projects, including the establishment of a joint venture company at Torbay Council, as well as managing Torbay Council’s building asset rationalisation programme.

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