Lambeth: alliance working to improve transitions for young people

The Children and Young People Alliance is taking a holistic view in reconfiguring service delivery, providing support to children almost from the moment they are born and as young people up to the age of 25.

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Children and Young People Alliance, one of the three ‘Delivery Alliances’ incorporated in the partnership Lambeth Together, is currently reviewing transitions’ services and young people’s unmet needs in London Borough of Lambeth. The Children and Young People Alliance is taking a holistic view in reconfiguring service delivery, providing support to children almost from the moment they are born and as young people up to the age of 25. Young people are also actively involved in the development of the Alliance group.

The challenge

Lambeth has put in place a working group with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLAM) colleagues to review transitions’ services in the Borough. The working group aims to address, among others:

a) the small number of young people eventually transitioning to AMHS,

b) the fact that in certain circumstances CAMHS need to continue support for a young person after the age of 18 – such as when they are not accepted in AMHS, or when suitable support is not found for them in the transition process – possibly up to the age of 21

c) the multiplicity of pathways people can transition to which can result being confusing for them. The group is meeting on a monthly basis to review the numbers of young people aged 16 and over who require support, their needs and the potential pathways that will need to be implemented.

The solution

The Children’s Integrated Commissioning team, working with colleagues in Public Health has been undertaking a full needs assessment regarding mental health and wellbeing in children and young people. This will drive the work of the emotional health and wellbeing subgroup of the Children’s alliance, focusing on early intervention.

The emotional health and wellbeing subgroup will be a formalised partnership, which will include the council, the CCG, SLAM, the voluntary sector, schools and academic partners. The group will attempt to take a less-medicalised view of support for emotional health and wellbeing needs.

The impact

The needs assessment has enabled partners to also identify unmet needs of young people in the community, so they can then find the best way to address it. This is a work in progress and, as Dan Stoten comments, ‘there’s quite a lot of work to do in transitions’.

The group working on transitions will also deliver a workshop with clinicians and experts by experience to ensure that young people’s voices are heard in the delivery of the new model. This workshop will enable local officers to understand the presenting needs and numbers needing to transition, as well as to develop clearer pathways for those who need them.  For example, explains Dan Stoten, ‘when CAMHS services are discharging, they do that back to the GP, who looks into the available support for each young person. But from discussions we’ve had with young people and their families, I know it’s not that straightforward and that young people may actually feel isolated during this process’.

How is the new approach being sustained?

In response to the reduced budget envelope councils nationwide have had to adjust to, Lambeth Council has protected its funding of CAMHs to maintain the quality of services offered to young people.

Bringing the different groups of partners together to discuss is another important step to make sure colleagues in the system know of each other and the ways they can deliver a service together. Developing Lambeth’s Children and Young People’s Plan for 2018-2022 was based on such mutual approach and collaboration.


We always work in partnership in Lambeth. It’s not about numbers, it’s about outcomes’

– Dan Stoten (London Borough of Lambeth and NHS South East London CCG)

Lessons learned

In developing the new service model to be implemented, bringing the clinicians from CAMHS and AMHS together to speak made a great difference. This has helped to establish a better understanding between the two services as to how they each operate as a service and, by extension, being able to work together and better support a young person while transitioning. To that end, involving schools in service delivery is also important; for example, through having school nurses and mental health support workers in place.

Finally, Dan Stoten suggests it is important to ensure officers involve their elected Members at the very beginning of any redesign process; because elected members are keen to design services meeting the community’s needs. 


Dan Stoten - [email protected]

Assistant Director, Integrated Children’s Commissioning, London Borough of Lambeth and NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)