Nottinghamshire Insight

Joint strategic needs assessment

Child poverty (2016)

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Topic title Child poverty (2016)
Topic owner Child Poverty Reference Group
Topic author(s) Rachel Clark
Topic quality reviewed 08.06.16
Topic endorsed by Child Poverty Reference Group
Topic approved by Approved by Children’s Trust Board (15.07.16)
Current version 2016
Replaces version 14/01/2013
Linked JSNA topics

Executive summary

Current status

The Child Poverty (2016) chapter has been updated in May 2021.

View the latest updates (May 2021)


This JSNA chapter provides an up to date picture of current levels of Child Poverty in Nottinghamshire and its impact. It should be read in conjunction with the 2011 Nottinghamshire Child Poverty Needs Assessment.

Growing up in poverty can affect every area of a child’s development and future life chances. We know that the most disadvantaged children are less likely to achieve their academic potential, secure employment and gain a sense of future financial security. They are more likely to suffer from poor health, live in poor quality housing and unsafe environments. Poverty has blighted the lives of individuals, families and entire communities for generations and is an issue that could undermine the wider social and economic policies across Nottinghamshire. Growing up in poverty can mean being cold, going hungry, not being able to join in activities with friends, and not being able to afford even one week’s holiday.[1]

The Child Poverty Act 2010 placed new statutory duties upon top tier local authorities and their named partners to prepare a joint child poverty strategy which set out the measures that the Local Authority and each partner propose to take to reduce and mitigate the effects of child poverty in their area. The government has since amended the Child Poverty Act, replacing the income targets with a duty to report on Life Chances, contained in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.

The Nottinghamshire Child and Family Poverty Strategy ‘Building Aspiration: working together to tackle child and family poverty in Nottinghamshire[2]’ was developed by asking partners to make organisational pledges to tackle poverty. Organisations were asked to shape their pledges based on a series of recommendations made in the local child poverty needs assessment[3].

The following priorities have been highlighted in the implementation of the Child and Family Poverty Strategy:

  • Target localities of Nottinghamshire with greater levels of poverty to ensure outcomes in these areas are improved and children and families thrive in safe, cohesive communities and neighbourhoods.
  • Increase educational attainment, employment and skills amongst children, young people and parents in Nottinghamshire; reduce dependency on welfare benefits and ensure work pays.
  • Raise aspirations and improve the life chances for children and families so that poverty in childhood does not translate into poor experiences and outcomes.
  • Support families to acquire the skills and knowledge to access responsive financial support services, money management, and debt crisis support.
  • Support families with complex problems compounded by poverty and disadvantage.


The Nottinghamshire Child Poverty Strategy brings together existing activity and initiatives that contribute to the overall aims of the child poverty strategy e.g. improving the educational attainment of children eligible for free school meals. The action plan attached  to the strategy focuses on areas that require further partnership action, rather than focusing on existing individual agency actions.

The following table provides a list of some of the key local strategies that impact on work to tackle child poverty and improve the outcomes for children and families living in poverty:


Child Poverty Act 2010

Welfare Reform and Work Act (2016)


Building Aspiration: Working Together to Tackle Child and Family Poverty in Nottinghamshire

(September 2011)


Refreshed Oct 2014


Nottinghamshire Child Poverty Strategy 2014-2017


Nottinghamshire Child Poverty Strategy Equality Impact Assessment (September 2011)

Child Poverty Data sets

Nottinghamshire Child Poverty Needs Assessment (February 2011)


Nottinghamshire Family and Parenting Strategy

Nottinghamshire Early Years Improvement Plan 2015-16


Nottinghamshire Closing the Gap Strategy


Nottinghamshire Children, Young People and Families Plan



Whilst rates of child poverty as measured by the Children Living in Low Income Households dataset have fallen slightly over the last 3 years, they are not falling quickly enough to significantly improve outcomes for children and young people in Nottinghamshire.


  • The 2016 Social Mobility Index indicates that out of 7 districts, four are classed as Social Mobility Cold Spots, meaning that there is low social mobility in these areas. Good social mobility is a key indicator of how we are preventing poor children from becoming poor adults.   In particular, Nottinghamshire rates poorly for Youth Social Mobility with a lower than average attainment at A level and a low number of young people going to top end universities.[4]There are fewer children in poverty in Nottinghamshire compared to England (18.0%) and the East Midlands (17.0%). However, Nottinghamshire’s levels of child poverty are slightly higher than other East Midlands two tier authorities and also slightly higher than most of our statistical neighbours, with the exception of Kent.


  • Worklessness is still a key reason why many children in Nottinghamshire are living in poverty; this may be compounded further with forthcoming welfare reforms.  However, the JSNA also identifies that in-work poverty remains an issue in Nottinghamshire and emerging changes to Universal Credit may exacerbate this.


  • A reduction in funding for local services has meant that they have focused more closely on targeting services to the most deprived areas. The Troubled Families programme, in particular, measures performance explicitly around reducing Child Poverty[5]. Many other services, whilst not aimed specifically at tackling Child Poverty, have performance indicators which help mitigate the effects of poverty and help prevent poor children becoming poor adults.


  • The government approach to measuring Child Poverty is changing, moving away from focusing on income targets and towards measuring improved outcomes for children and young people around educational attainment, worklessness and family functioning. This requires new thinking from commissioners and service providers as to how to best align the Pupil Premium, the Troubled Families programme and the Work Programme to provide a package of universal support for those eligible for Universal Credit.

[1] Child Poverty Action Group 2016

[2] Nottinghamshire County Council (2011) Building Aspiration: working together to tackle child and family poverty in Nottinghamshire

[3] Nottinghamshire County Council (2011) Nottinghamshire Child Poverty Needs Assessment

[4]  The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission The Social Mobility Index February 2016

[5] Nottinghamshire County Council Family Outcomes Plan 2014

Unmet needs and gaps

There is increasing focus in tackling child poverty on improving family functioning and enabling more parents to return to work. This has led to to the identification of the following gaps:

  1. Family and parenting support for families with children aged 5-19 with need below Level 3 of the Nottinghamshire Pathway to Provision[1].

There has been a reduction in parenting and family support services from the local authority and commissioned partners for those families who do not meet Level 3 of the Pathway to Provision. Generally, services are intervening when problems are more entrenched and there are higher thresholds to access to more targeted provision. However, this needs to be balanced with the fact that more schools are using Pupil Premium money to employ their own family support staff, although this does not apply to all schools. Health Visitors, GPs and Children’s Centres have all retained a universal element to their family support delivery.

  1. Support for parents with couple relationships

There is an increasing body of evidence that suggests that couple conflict plays a major role in negative outcomes for children and young people[2]. However, currently services focus on improving children’s behaviour and improving parental self- efficacy[3]

  1. Effective support for adults with mental health difficulties to return to work

There are a rising number of adults claiming Employment Support Allowance as a result of mental health difficulties. Whilst both the Troubled Families programme and local Work Programme have sought to engage with these adults, the rising number of ESA claimants indicates that there is still further work to be done in this area.

  1. Financial support for families where neither parent works

Changes in entitlements to welfare benefits over the next two years are likely to mean that families where neither parent works will be worse off. There is currently no local Welfare Assistance Scheme and there is likely to be increased pressure on Discretionary Housing payments going forward

  1. Local authority sites for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families. 

There are no local authority owned and run sites for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families.  This effectively means that there is no equivalent to affordable, social housing for this group. The only sites available are privately run so are the equivalent to being in the private, rented sector.


[3] Parental Self Efficacy – the belief that one will be able to perform parenting tasks successfully. Research suggests that this is associated with an increased quality of parent –child interactions, increased parental warmth and responsiveness and parental involvement with and monitoring of adolescents.

Recommendations for consideration by commissioners

Poverty is real but not inevitable. We can do something about it and must tackle its underlying causes.  To reduce poverty, there is no single response that will succeed on its own. We need to account for the nature of jobs at the bottom end of the labour market, the cost of essential goods and services, whether people are able to reach their potential, and the choices that individuals make, as well as the way services respond.






Strategy and Integrated Commissioning



Consider the social mobility index rankings and identify actions to address highlighted areas and develop a coherent narrative around social mobility and life chances which informs decision making.

Nottinghamshire County Council and District Councils


Review the recommendations in the Life Chances Strategy and consider how commissioners and planners will implement them locally.  In particular, consideration of how to implement the recommendation by the Centre for Social Justice of how to best align the Pupil Premium, the Troubled Families programme and the Work Programme, in order to provide a package of universal support to those eligible for Universal Credit[1].

Nottinghamshire County Council, District Councils, Department for Work and Pensions


Commissioners and planners should consider how to implement the new Framework for Supporting Teenage Mothers and Young Fathers[2]

Nottinghamshire County Council


Active targeting of localities with higher rates of child poverty, and groups of children and families affected by the impact of child poverty.

Notts County Council, Clinical Commissioning groups, District Councils

Increasing family incomes


Commissioners should consider how current adult mental health provision enables people to return to or remain in work.

Nottinghamshire County Council, CCGs


Ensure that all services working with families have an element which specifically supports parents to gain and retain paid employment and build the workforce capacity to do this.

Nottinghamshire County Council and Schools


Consider how economic development can help create a local safety net for low income families. In particular, exploring the role of Children’s Centres in supporting parents of young children back into work, and the role of Local Government in providing, co-ordinating and publicising financial assistance and free childcare.  This requires joined up commissioning to take place across Local Authority departments, not just within Children’s Services.

 Department for Work and Pensions, Nottinghamshire County Council, District Councils

Intelligence and improving data


Consider how existing data gaps may be filled and move to an evidence based approach to commissioning all services, particularly around Pupil Premium impact, food poverty and debt.

Nottinghamshire County Council,  Districts Councils, VCS


Consider developing a social mobility and life chances dataset, in order to inform commissioners and planners.

Nottinghamshire County Council, District Councils

Family Support


Commissioners should consider how to provide high quality couple relationship support through existing family support services and build the capacity of the workforce to do this.

Nottinghamshire County Council


Continue to promote access to free childcare through staff signposting to families and publicity campaigns

Nottinghamshire County Council


Scope the feasibility of conducting a poverty proofing pilot in Nottinghamshire schools

Nottinghamshire County Council


[1] Delivering a Life Chances Strategy Centre for Social Justice March 2016

[2] Published by Public Health England and Local Government Association 2016


Key contacts

None provided.

This is an online synopsis of the topic which shows the executive summary and key contacts sections. To view the full document, please download it.

Full report »