Aims of the strategy

The Children, Young People and Families’ Plan 2020-23 is the overarching strategic plan for the Dorset Strategic Alliance for Children and Young People, a partnership of statutory, education and voluntary sector agencies (full list is available in the plan) and set out how the partnership will work together to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Children, Young People and Families Plan 2020-23 delivers the partnership’s vision of: We want Dorset to be the best place to be a child; where communities thrive, and families are supported to be the best they can be.

The plan focuses on improving outcomes for all children and young people through 6 priorities: 

Best start in life

Focused on: re-imagining how services are delivered to families who are expecting and have pre-school children; ensuring the best possible start in life; and improving school readiness. 

Young and thriving

Focused on: setting up our young people for success in adulthood; ensuring young people have a strong voice; good emotional wellbeing and mental health; preparation for adulthood; and preventing family breakdown.  

Good care provision

Focused: on keeping our children close to home; ensuring partners are the best corporate parents; making sure there is sufficient care provision locally (foster care, residential and short breaks); supporting young people at risk of homelessness; and suitable and safe housing for care leavers. 

Best education for all

Focused on: supporting schools and educational settings to deliver the best education possible; ensuring all children and young people can achieve their full potential; meeting the needs of children with SEND and building inclusive school cultures. 

Best place to live

Focused on: ensuring our children and young people have accessible things to do and places to go; can get involved and influence decision making; that they experience safe, welcoming and inclusive places; contextual safeguarding; and that we work as a partnership to provide a cleaner, greener environment for our children and young people to grow up in. 

Delivering locally

Focused on: joining up services in Dorset to become a whole system that strengthens the ability of families to care and sustain their children; embedding the new model of children’s services; identifying opportunities for service integration; and building on community assets. 

There are 7 outcomes or conditions of wellbeing that the partnership wants for all children and young people in Dorset: 


  • all children have the best start in life 
  • all children and young people are safe from harm and have the help they need 
  • all children and young people have a settled and happy education which enables them to achieve their full potential 
  • all children and young people have healthy and active lives 
  • all children and young people are prepared for adult life 
  • all children and young people feel they can have their say and are listened to 
  • all children and young people enjoy growing up in Dorset

We anticipate that this policy will have a positive impact for all children and young people in the Dorset area.  We are ambitious for all our children and young people, what these look like for individual children and young people will be very personal to them.  It is a strategic plan and delivery plans will be developed to define how the priorities in this plan are delivered. 


Background to the proposal

Section 10 of the Children Act 2004 sets out the requirement for the local authority to promote that partners co-operate to improve wellbeing of children and young people. Best practice is for Local Authorities and their partners to produce and deliver a Children and Young People’s Plan bringing together in one strategic overarching plan the partnership’s shared commitment to work together to improve outcomes for children and young people. 

In Dorset the Council has maintained its commitment to improve outcomes for children and young people in producing and publishing a Children and Young People’s Plan as part of its constitution and formal policy framework. 

The current partnership Strategy for Children and Young People in Dorset comes to an end in 2020.  During 2019 Dorset Council, with partners of the multi-agency Strategic Alliance for Children and Young People, agreed to undertake the work to develop a new 3-year Children, Young People and Families Plan.  

Intelligence and Communication 

Data, information, evidence and research used and how it has influenced the decision-making process

Information regarding who is affected by this plan is contained within the Our County and the Why is this important? sections within the Children, Young People and Families Plan itself. 

  • partnership planning session - March 2020: To consider performance gaps in outcomes for children and young people in Dorset, where outcomes for children are not yet where we want them to be
  • think tanks – June 2020 (attended by over 100 professionals from the partnership): On each of the emerging Children, Young People and Families Plan priorities. At these sessions, colleagues from across the partnership, including representative young people and parents and carers, came together in virtual workshops to talk about each priority
  • Diagonal Slice employee engagement July 2020: Interactive sessions that provided the opportunity for staff to input and shape the plan
  • I Live in Dorset campaign – July 2020: This social media campaign encouraged children and young people from Dorset to tell us about what would make Dorset the best place to grow up
  • each priority within the Children, Young People and Families Plan 2020-23 has a summary of: Why is this important? and Where are we now? – these sections contain the drivers (policy, local and national information) for each of the priorities   

Dorset is a beautiful coastal county, over half of Dorset is covered by the Area of Outstanding Natural  Beauty designation and 7% of Dorset is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  The Dorset rural idyll can conceal hidden deprivation. There are pockets of deprivation, mostly in urban areas but there is also some rural deprivation due to isolation and difficulty accessing housing, transport and essential services. Crime is generally low in Dorset. 


Earnings are below average and house prices are high with affordability issues for many young people and keyworkers. Dorset has no motorway but over 2,500 miles of roads.  Dorset has relatively low birth rates and younger people often move away from the area. 

The total population of Dorset is: 378,508 (2019 mid-year estimate), this includes 74,765 children and young people aged 0-19 representing 20% of the total population and there are 89,573 aged 0-24, representing 24% of the population. 

We have approximately 2,800 children with Special Educational Needs supported through an Educational, Health and Care Plan. There are 483 Children in Care in Dorset and 261 Care Leavers. We have 160 schools in Dorset - 1 All through School, 36 First Schools, 2 Infant Schools, 2 Junior Schools, 10 Middle Schools, 81 Primary Schools, 4 Pupil Referral Units, 15 Secondary Schools, 6 Special Schools and 3 Upper Schools. 

There are 33 different languages spoken in Dorset schools (January 2020 school census – children with a language other than English as first language). 

9% of school age children are from black and minority ethnic communities (non-white British – January 2020 school census). 

Each priority within the Children, Young People and Families Plan 2020-23 has a summary of: Why is this important? and Where are we now? – these sections contain the drivers (policy, local and national information) for each of the priorities. 

Feedback from children and young people on what would make Dorset the best place to grow up (I Live in Dorset campaign) is summarised below:

  • getting involved, having a say and making a difference – social action 
  • having things to do, activities to go to and being able to play 
  • being and feeling safe
  • a kind and happy Dorset
  • being healthy - and having access to things that support good physical and emotional health
  • caring for each other and looking after people in the community when they need help 
  • looking after the environment
  • places where everyone can get to - accessibility
  • being able to learn skills for the future – technology 
  • being proud of our community and celebrating Dorset role models

The feedback from children and young people has influenced the development of the plan and resulted in an additional priority, Best Place to Live. 

Engagement or consultation that has taken place as part of this EqIA

  • strategic alliance workshops and meetings (multi-agency partnership including senior people from police, health, schools and early years settings, voluntary and community sector) 
  • think tank sessions  
  • social media campaigns for Children and Young People 
  • promoting the development of the Children, Young People and Families Plan through the Family Information Service
  • inviting feedback and contributions from staff and partners throughout the development of the plan


  • a summary of key themes identified by children and young people is contained within the plan itself
  • a summary version of the plan for children and young people is to be prepared and published and this will explain how feedback has influenced the plan
  • a thank you to those who provided feedback is being planned for in communications that will support the launch of the plan (following endorsement and adoption of the plan by Full Council)


Impacts of the strategy

impacts table
Impacts on who or what? Effect Details



The plan seeks to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families through 6 key priority areas: 

  1. Best Start in Life 
  2. Young and Thriving 
  3. Good Care Provision 
  4. Best Education for All 
  5. Best Place to Live 
  6. Delivering Locally 

What age bracket does this affect? 


Children and young people up to the age of 25 years and their families. 

Disability: (including physical, mental, sensory and progressive conditions) 


The plan seeks to better support the early identification and support of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to better meet their needs early.   

It will help to better prepare our young people with SEND for a settled adulthood including developing the skills required for employment and independent living and focus on improving transitions between services.   

Building on our partnership work so far, the plan will develop and implement an Education and Inclusion Strategy focused on improving educational outcomes for all children and young people including vulnerable children and improving our offer to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.   

The plan promotes working together to ensure that communities, services, and businesses are welcoming and inclusive places, where young people with Special Educational Needs Disabilities are able to make friends and be included in community life. 

Furthermore, the plan seeks to review our residential provision and identify a model of practice and delivery which better meets the needs of the most vulnerable young people.   

Additionally, the plan will make sure that there are a range of short breaks available to support families with children with SEND to be able to continue to care for their children.  

Through the Best place to live priority the plan will see partners work with colleagues to improve accessibility in the countryside and local beaches.  

Through the Young and Thriving priority we intend to make sure young people have access to a wide range of support to promote their emotional well-being and address their mental health concerns.  We will implement the NHS Long Term plan ambitions for increased access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and implement the evidence based Thrive Framework for a system wide approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health developed by the Anna Freud Centre and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.    

We intend to evaluate the Targeted Mental Health Service in schools with a view to expanding it to other areas of Dorset and improve transitions between children’s and adult mental health services.  

We expect that young people having access to the support they need, when they need it and experiencing improved transitions between children’s and adults’ services will result in positive impacts.   

Does this affect a specific disability group? 


Children and young people with special educational needs & disabilities (SEND). 

Gender Reassignment & Gender Identity 


At this stage we are unclear of the specific impacts however we expect work to strengthen young people’s access to emotional health and wellbeing services will be a positive step. 

Pregnancy and maternity


The plan aims to provide supportive environments before conception, during pregnancy and following birth.    

Significant opportunities have been identified for the partnership to develop an asset-based approach to community resilience which wraps around pregnancy and parenthood and to harness and capitalise on the rapid improvement in joint working within community settings.  For instance, the plan includes working together to strengthen the local maternity system developments with a community wrap around offer, to support pre-/post birth (preparing for parenthood) and to improve pathways of support between maternity services, health visiting and local authority services.  

Race and Ethnicity 


The plan promotes anti-discriminatory and anti-racist education and practices by seeking to listen carefully to and acting on the experiences of children and young people from Black and other minority communities in Dorset.  

As referred to at the beginning of this EqIA, how this action is progressed will be defined by the Best Place to Live delivery plan. 

Religion or belief / Marriage or civil partnership / Armed Forces communities  


No specific impacts identified 

Sexual orientation


At this stage the impacts are unclear, however there are a range of actions within the plan that we expect to have a positive impact as they are developed in more detail.  For example:   

We will ensure young people receiving our services will be involved in decisions about how we help them, where professionals listen to them and understand their needs.  

We will support the provision of a wide range of positive activities for young people, including access to youth work such as open access youth clubs, detached youth work, one-to-one and virtual/ online youth work and targeted issue based group work programmes to support vulnerable young people whose needs might otherwise escalate and we will work with partners to deliver these programmes locally, in line with the other priorities within the plan.  

We will make sure young people have access to a wide range of support to promote their emotional well-being and address their mental health concerns.    

We intend to create and publish more opportunities for children and young people to get involved in their communities and to develop the skills to create change on issues that are important to them.  

We will also be promoting that through the plan partners work together to ensure that communities, services, and businesses are welcoming and inclusive places.  

Sex (consider both men and women)


Through the Best Start in Life priority we intend to provide  intensive support for women who have had multiple children removed from their care.

Work to support expectant parents as they prepare for parenthood will also take place.

Family Hubs, early help and edge of care services will provide support to parents and carers.

Through our Delivering Locally priority we intend embed whole family approaches, with a particular focus on addressing the needs of children living with parental substance use, mental ill-health or domestic abuse. 



The plan recognises the importance of carers and when developing the workforce, we will include parents and carers too – they have told us this is important.

The plan includes actions to strengthen fostering services which will include ensuring a robust service for the most vulnerable teenagers and children that avoids breakdown and escalation.

Foster carers will be considered as the new service is developed to support young people in the care system to have more stable placements and to remain or return to foster care where it is appropriate to do so.

A key action within the plan is to develop market capacity and both commission and facilitate a comprehensive Short Break Offer which supports families and prevents escalation to care or inpatient status. 

Rural isolation


The plan seeks to work with colleagues to improve accessibility in the countryside and local beaches; increase cycle lanes and improve public transport.

The plan also aims to coordinate work through six Local Alliance Groups that bring together local partners to understand local needs and develop local plans that make the most of collective resources and address issues that important to local communities.

Single parent families


No specific impacts identified  however we anticipate that better identification of individuals that may need support.

Social and economic deprivation


The plan aims for partners to address low social mobility and work together to develop co-ordinated wrap around support, including community assets and specific social, emotional and practical interventions.  For instance, in Dorset, there are some stark differences between where children grow up and the chances they have of doing well in adult life, with Weymouth and Portland ranking one of the lowest areas for social mobility in the whole country.

There is significant evidence that place-based approaches lead to positive outcomes for children by enabling people to come together to address complex health, social and economic issues, which no one individual or agency can solve alone.

Key to impacts 

impacts table
Positive Impact  

the proposal eliminates discrimination, advances equality of opportunity and/or fosters good relations with protected groups.

Negative Impact 

protected characteristic group(s) could be disadvantaged or discriminated against.

Neutral Impact  

no change/ no assessed significant impact of protected characteristic groups.


not enough data/evidence has been collected to make an informed decision.

Action Plan

Action to be taken  Person(s) responsible   Date to be completed by 

All positive impacts are related to actions within the Children, Young People and Families Plan.

Progress against the plan will be monitored by the partnership’s Strategic Alliance Board at quarterly meetings.  

An Annual Report will be prepared and published to report on progress made every year throughout the duration of the plan. 

Actions within the Children, Young People and Families Plan will be delivered by 2023. 

This EQIA will continue to be reviewed, as all impacts are unclear at this stage.  As work to develop the detailed delivery plans for each priority within the Children, Young People and Families Plan the impacts will become clearer and monitoring of the impacts will be implemented across the life-course of the implementation of the plan. 

Progress against the plan will be monitored by the partnership’s Strategic Alliance Board at quarterly meetings.  

Actions within the Children, Young People and Families Plan will be delivered by 2023. 

EqIA Sign Off 

EqIA sign off
Role Name Date
Officer completing the EqIA Claire Shiels, 
Corporate Director, Commissioning, Quality and Partnerships
23 September 2020
Equality Lead Susan Ward-Rice 30 September 2020
Equality & Diversity Action Group Chair Dr David Bonner 30 September 2020