Access our tools and guides to help implement early intervention (EI) effectively

One of the key goals of EIF is to provide practical advice on how to implement Early Intervention, helping local areas turn the learning from evidence into practice and changes on the ground. In this section, you can find our tools and guidance to support this.

We are still developing some of these. They cover the key things that need to happen to make EI work effectively in local areas, including guidance on assessing strengths and weaknesses in local approaches to EI, developing EI strategies, commissioning well, and developing local integrated systems for delivering services.

Our implementation support is grouped into different phases of strategic planning:


1. Understand the Context

Early Intervention services and systems need to be planned, commissioned and delivered as part of a strategic approach to addressing priority needs, opportunities and challenges locally. The first stage of this is understanding how well things are working locally, and what resources and needs are currently present in the local area. In this section you can find tools and resources to help do this.

  • Assess how well your EI system currently works, identifying strengths and weaknesses

Maturity matrix:

The Early Intervention Maturity Matrix is a self-assessment tool for local partnerships and agencies who are developing strategies for putting Early Intervention into practice. It is intended to help assess how well things are going across all the various activities needed to ensure that children and young people in an area receive effective help and support at the earliest opportunity.

The Matrix sets out the different activities that we think are important in a place’s approach to Early Intervention, and what different levels of progress might look like for each of these. It is intended to help partnerships and agencies assess how well they are doing in their ‘Early Intervention journey’, to identify strengths to build on, as well as the areas for development and actions that might help them get to excellence – or ‘maturity’.

The tool was developed and tested in our 20 Pioneering EI Places and is now being used more widely. It is available here, along with guidance on how to use the tool, how to evidence different levels of progress, and pointers on things to consider when planning how to improve.

If you have any comments or questions about the tool in the meantime you can contact We would love to hear if it helps you and how you are putting it to use locally!

EI PESTLE analysis tool:

When local areas are planning their approach to EI it is important to take into consideration the likely opportunities and threats that will be affecting their local area over coming months and years. This tool provides a simple, EI specific version of the well-known PESTLE analysis, which sets out a structure against which to consider how political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental changes might affect local plans for EI.

  • Understand local need and priority groups

EIF Benchmarking analysis: An analysis for individual local areas as to how they are doing on key outcomes relevant to EI. Individual Local Authority areas can commission this analysis.

Developing local needs assessments: we are working on guidance to help improve needs assessment locally.

  • Baseline local spend and provision

Before you can consider how to improve local services and approaches it is important to understand what provision you currently have, how well it is working, what its evidence base is, and how much you are spending on it. These resources can help you understand this.
Late spend work

2. Scope options for better ways of working

In this section you can find tools and resources that EIF has produced to support local commissioners and decision-makers in developing robust strategies for Early Intervention, and delivering commissioning processes that help put these strategies into practice.

  • Set strategic goals – prioritise areas for development and action – where do you want to be?

Guide to developing an EI strategy:

Having a coherent plan for what you want to achieve on EI and how you will get there is essential to getting agencies and teams working together to contribute to your goals. This guide sets out our views on what makes a good EI strategy and things to consider when developing your local one.

Theory of change template:

An important part of doing EI well is understanding how your activities link to your intended outcomes, and key measures of success along the way. A ‘theory of change’ helps structure this in a way that everyone can contribute to and sets out clearly where you want to get to and how you’re going to get there.

  • Develop and assess options for future approach

Business case tools

Considering the potential of SIBs

Implementing Early Intervention programmes requires investment. More than ever before the current challenging financial context, requires innovative methods of achieving this. In this section you can find EIF’s report on Social Impact Bonds.

The report is intended to provide a single source of information for local commissioners who are interested in understanding Social Impact Bonds that are currently in place, and thinking through potential opportunities for these locally when it comes to Early Intervention.

  • Apply the evidence of what works to local context, to inform design and decision-making


Guide to commissioning using evidence: Of course using evidence to make decisions about what to commission is not always straightforward . We are currently developing a short guidance note summarising our perspectives and learning from other areas on how to use evidence to commission effective EI in practice. If you are interested in finding out more or contributing, please contact

3. Make change happen

Effective EI strategy and commissioning alone is not sufficient to achieve positive change on the ground – success depends on how things happen in practice, and ensuring robust testing so that improvements can be tracked.

  • Plan and deliver operational change

Early Years

Preventing Gangs and Youth Violence

  • Monitor and evaluate success

Access our tools and resources and workshop materials and evaluation resources

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