Evaluation of the Nottinghamshire Healthy Families Programme Parent/Infant relationship initiative

Evaluation in progress. Expected completion April 2024


What does the research mean for Local Authorities?

This mixed methods project will evaluate the Nottinghamshire Healthy Families Programme Parent/Infant relationship initiative (PIRi). The PIRi offers a short one-to-one intervention with families identified as being in need of support around developing interaction and connection in parent-infant relationships.

Locally, the findings will help shape the current and future service delivery of the PIRi and help influence future commissioning intent. More broadly, the findings will have the potential to inform service delivery in other areas, by exploring what contributes to the perceived feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of services delivering interventions with families, from the perspectives of practitioners and service users.

What does the research evaluation mean for the Public?

This evaluation will help inform and improve how the Nottinghamshire Healthy Families Programme Parent/Infant relationship initiative (PIRi) is delivered. We will be looking at the perspectives of professionals delivering the PIRi, as well as members of the public who are receiving support. This will allow the views of different people to be heard and considered, and allow service improvements to be informed by a range of perspectives.

This will benefit the people receiving the PIRi and may enable more flexible support to be offered, helping people better access and engage in support, and ultimately improving children’s health and wellbeing.

How are the public involved in the evaluation?

We undertook three workshops with a variety of local stakeholders to help design the research project. These stakeholders included commissioners from the local council, managers and practitioners from the PIRi service, and service partners from the NHS and Health Family Programme team. We will undertake further workshops to feedback on emerging research findings towards the end of the project.
Our project partners at Nottinghamshire County Council have organised colleagues and service users not involved in the research to review key study information documentation (information sheets, consent forms, topic guides). This is being used to help comprehension and accessibility of study information for potential participants, and to ensure interview questions and information is appropriate and sensitive.

Lay summary of research

The first 1001 days of a child’s life, from birth to two years old, are important for their development. Parents who can recognise and respond to their baby’s needs can help them to grow with good health. We are now beginning to see how important it is for children’s health that parents can recognise and respond to their baby’s needs. This can make a big difference to health when children are small, and when they grow up.
COVID-19 has resulted in lots of problems for children’s health. Because of this, Nottinghamshire County Council wanted to do more to help their parents and children and give every child the best start in life. They have set up a new team that can help parents build better relationships with their baby. They do this by helping parents to recognise and respond to their baby’s needs.
Health visitors look for families who may need help when they first visit after the birth or when they visit to do routine checks 6 to 8 weeks later. These families are then contacted by the team that can offer extra support. This team works with families and provides up to 6 extra support sessions. Depending on the needs of the family, these can include discussing child development, the parent’s own emotional health and wellbeing, and parent-infant relationships.
Our project is looking at how well this support works and what difference it makes to new parents. We are going to speak to people who work in the team and parents who get help from them, and ask them what they think about it. We want to know if they think it is good, working well, and if there is anything that can be done to make it better. We are also going to look at other information that is collected by the team, including questionnaires that families who have been getting help from the PIRi team are asked to fill in. The findings will be used to help improve the way support is provided and help decide how the team can best be used in the future.

Local Authority/Partner(s)

Nottinghamshire County Council
Helena Cripps
Kerrie Adams


PHIRST Fusion Research team

University of Sheffield
Professor Elizabeth Goyder
Dr Hannah Fairbrother
Dr Nicholas Woodrow
Dr Habiba Aminu
Ms Ellie Holding

Newcastle University
Dr Bronia Arnott