Early Help

Early Help means taking action to support a child, young person or their family early in the life of a problem, as soon as it emerges. It can be required at any stage in a child’s life from pre-birth to adulthood, and applies to any problem or need that the family cannot deal with or meet on their own.

The Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT) is an assessment for multi-agency support.  Further information can be found at the Plymouth Online Pod.

New Early Help and SEND (Special Education Needs & Disability) Advice Line 

Do you need help or advice about your own family or are you a practitioner who wants to get some advice about a family you are supporting? If so you can now  pre-book a call to the Early Help & SEND Advice Line where family support workers are available to talk about any worries or answer your questions.  The service will operate from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday – all year around.

Through this initiative schools, agencies and families themselves can pre-book a 30 minute slot for a discussion. You can book a slot using the following link


or by scanning the QR code in the posters below that will also be displayed in schools and settings around the city.  This will help make sure that  professionals and families can plan a time that is convenient to them and means that they will not be holding on for a response via the Gateway; making the most of everyone’s precious time.  The Gateway Advice line will continue to run for the time being, but please do start to pre-book your slot for advice.

When should I use the Pre Book Advice Line Service?

Our Advisors will provide support and advise on available support services within the community.  This can cover education worries, emotional wellbeing issues, parenting guidance our support, queries about the SEND process, relationship worries, school attendance and social and emotional development. Our Advisors will be able to help families and professionals think about solutions and options in order to support children and families at the earliest opportunity. It will also support professionals in the use of the EHAT (Early Help Assessment Tool) process. If it is felt through the conversation that specialist support from a member of our SEND team is needed, we may need to arrange a further call back for you with one of our colleagues.

Of course, where you have a safeguarding concern about a child please make contact with the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) in the normal way.

For more details about the Early Help & Send Advice line please got to Plymouth Early Help and SEND Advice line | PLYMOUTH.GOV.UK

Early Help Poster 01

Early Help Poster 02

Early Help Poster 03

What is an Early Help Assessment?

The Early Help Assessment is a voluntary process for families to share information with a range of local services to help them plan together and get the right support.

Professionals across the city will work together to ensure you:

  • Get the right support at the right time
  • Only have to tell your story once
  • Are listened to and given appropriate advice
  • Can learn about opportunities available to you and your family
  • Identify your strengths as well as your needs

You will be designated a Lead Professional who will develop a plan with you and can arrange support and meetings with other services who can help you and will review progress of the plan with you, as appropriate.

What are the professionals going to do?

  • Professional commitment to support families to make positive change
  • Create a clear plan with you and update you on progress regularly through meetings and information
  • Be accountable, open, honest and transparent with you
  • Be honest about what support they can give you


Generally the information you and your family provide will only be shared with those people/services that need to know and we ask your permission before sharing anything with them.

However there may be times when people working with you need to share information, such as:

  • When there are concerns that a child/young person is at risk of, or is suffering abuse or neglect
  • When an adult is at risk of harm
  • To help prevent or detect a serious crime

What will you need to do?

  • To be honest and share information and concerns so your family can get the right support
  • To attend meetings with relevant services and family meetings as needed
  • Commitment to achieving the outcomes as agreed with you in your family plan
  • Work together with professionals to achieve positive ways forward
  • Consent to sharing information to help your lead professional to access services that can help.


An Early Help Assessment can help support you in a number of ways ranging from advice and guidance to more intensive family support.

This could include support on issues such as:

  • Schools and education
  • Offending and anti-social behaviour
  • Housing
  • Supporting adults into work and learning
  • Advice about money
  • Parenting skills
  • Special Educational Needs
  • Domestic abuse
  • Alcohol and drug misuse
  • Parental Conflict
  • Mental health and general wellbeing
  • Coordinating other services and referrals and those

For any further information please visit the Early Intervention Foundation website.