BNSSG Healthier Together

Joint Forward Plan

Children and young people

Children playing at 'park play'

Why it’s important

We want all our children and young people to have the best start in life; to meet their needs and give them the best opportunity to be healthy and well. We want to support parents and carers, within their local communities, and to reduce inequalities that unfairly impact on the health and development outcomes of children and young people.

Where the building blocks for good health are weak or missing, this has a detrimental impact on children and young people:

  • Around 25,000 children in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire growing up in poverty are more likely to experience health problems from birth and throughout life.
  • Measures of school readiness at age five show a 20-25% gap between the most and least deprived areas of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
  • More people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire aged 16-17 are not in education, employment or training compared with the national average.

We also know that childhood obesity rates are increasing among children living in the poorest areas. Children who are obese have a much greater likelihood of being obese as an adult with higher risks of conditions like heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.



This video features Lavinia King, Co-production Coordinator for Bristol Parent Carers, talking about the partnership work underway to transform neurodiversity services for children and young people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

What we can do

The first 1,001 days of a child’s life from birth to the age of two are the most important in terms of their mental, emotional and physical development. We will work together to support families during those first 1,001 days, prioritising support for households who are unfairly at risk of the poorest health outcomes.

We understand the importance of meeting the needs of children with neurodiverse needs and reducing the need for a diagnosis before a child and their family can access the help and support, they need. This will mean working together to ensure resources are targeted to ensure the best health outcomes for children and young people.

In 2024/25 we have committed to implement a different model of care to reduce the backlog of referrals for an autism and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) assessment. Whilst this change in model of care will address the current backlog in the short-term, we recognise the need to understand and implement a longer term and more sustainable change to meet rising autism, ADHD and other neurodivergent needs.

We are working across our partnership to transform services and ensure the needs of children, young people and their families are consistently met.




Young children and their mothers playing with plastic building blocks.



A young child playing in the sand with a bucket and spade on the beach next to the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare.

How we’ll measure progress

  • We will improve access, child and family experience, and join up of services across health, social care, education and the voluntary and community sector.
  • We will continue to build our local area partnerships, deliver improvement plans and learn from inspections to improve the lives and outcomes of children with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • We will focus on reducing health inequalities for children and young people supported by NHS England’s Core20PLUS5 framework to inform action to reduce healthcare inequalities.
  • We will continue to improve children’s mental health services, aligning with our all-age mental health strategy, to ensure children and young people are supported to meet their needs, earlier on, in their local community.
  • We will produce a system action plan for early years children to ensure families have access to the support they need to improve children’s health and development outcomes.

This page provides an overview. To read about our plans in detail, take a look at the full Joint Forward Plan 2024-2029.

Joint Forward Plan 2024-2029

Strategic Commitments

Align everything we do to the outcomes we want
Demonstrate our system-wide commitment to prevention
Focus on the first 1,001 days to give our children the best start
Change how we work to reduce health inequalities actively
Prioritise the health impacts of poverty and disadvantage
Build a workforce who are supported, skilled and healthy
Focus on the whole person – not just the disease
Work together as equal partners to tackle our biggest problems
Support the economy with our purchasing and employment practices
Develop a better, healthier environment for people to live in

Outcomes Framework

The healthy life expectancy of our population
The health and wellbeing of our population
The health of services
The health and wellbeing of our staff
The health and wellbeing of our communities
The health and wellbeing of our environment