Proposed decommissioning of the Multi-Systemic Therapy Service

At their next meeting on Wednesday 13 January, cabinet members will be asked to approve the decommissioning of the Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) Service. The funding currently allocated to the MST will be re-invested in 2021-23 into children’s social care, to continue supporting families.  

The MST service was established in 2008 and aims to support children and young people aged 11-17 who are at risk of an out-of-home placement, either in care or custody. Since the service was set up, there has been a significant shift towards preventative approaches and developing the early help offer in Barnsley. This means that families get the support they need much earlier, before they reach crisis point and where they do need more intensive support this is available through wider Children’s Services.   

A service review was undertaken, and it was found that in the short term, 48 per cent of young people using the service needed further support from other council services. Financially, the support provided by the MST service costs around double the cost of other comparable services. From 2017-2020, the service delivery and cost were split equally between Barnsley and Rotherham councils. However, in February 2020, Rotherham Council gave formal notice on the agreement, and this resulted in the service no longer being financially viable in its current format. Therefore, the report proposes that the funding will most effectively support Children’s Services in 2021-23 by reallocating budget. This will ensure that more families can be supported to achieve better outcomes now and in the long-term.  

The report proposes the decommissioning with effect from Sunday 14 February 2021.  

Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said: “We have an excellent early help offer here in Barnsley, working hand in hand with children’s social care. These services have strong links to partners and are very well placed to support our families. Many families that are helped by the MST service will also work with other professionals and social workers in the council, so we are confident that there will be no drop in support for those families.  

“By reallocating budget, we believe we can support an increased number of families and children and young people than what we are currently doing with the MST service. We can make sure our families are supported now and in the future, and that we achieve the best possible outcomes for them.  

“We’re working hard to support the six members of staff directly affected either through redeployment or in supporting them to secure alternative employment as appropriate’’.  

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