New PHE and LGA framework provides tools for effective teenage pregnancy prevention programmes at the local level

Posted 23 January 2018

Date: 23 Jan 2018

Type: Sexual and Reproductive Health News

Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) stands as key factor for successful local teenage pregnancy prevention programmes along with outreach activities for young people at risk, including advice and access to contraception in non-health education and youth settings

Public Health England (PHE) and the Local Government Association (LGA) have just published “Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Framework: supporting young people to prevent unplanned pregnancy and develop healthy relationships”, a framework for healthcare practitioners to assess the effectiveness of local teenage pregnancy prevention programmes. The guidance helps services to identify gaps and maximise assets to strengthen the prevention pathway for all young people, and it offers a list of ten key factors of effective local strategies that adopt a collaborative whole-systems approach.

Out of the ten factors, RSE stands as one of the most important for effective local strategies. The framework provides suggestions of key actions that local areas should consider ahead of RSE’s statutory implementation in 2019. An example of an action would be for local authorities to provide briefings for senior leaders and school heads which explain how RSE can empower young people to look after their sexual and reproductive health.

Other important factors are “targeted prevention for young people at risk” as well as “advice and access to contraception in non-health education and youth settings” achieved through outreach activities. Teenage pregnancy risk can be associated with a range of individual vulnerabilities, and prevalence is often concentrated in more deprived areas. Outreach is a key component to engage young people at risk who may be unable or unwilling to access services.

The ten key factors of effective local strategies are:

  • Strategic leadership and accountability
  • RSE
  • Youth-friendly contraceptive and sexual health services
  • Targeted prevention for young people at risk
  • Support for parents to discuss relationships and sexual health
  • Training on relationships and sexual health for health and non-health professionals
  • Advice and access to contraception in non-health education and youth settings
  • Consistent messages & service publicity to young people, parents & practitioners
  • Support for pregnant teenagers and young parents – including prevention of subsequent pregnancies
  • Strong use of data for commissioning and monitoring of progress

The guidance also provides links to relevant resources, including a self-assessment checklist available for download. It can be used flexibly to review actions across a whole area or focus on high-rate districts and wards.

The new framework is a companion document to the previous multi-agency “A framework for supporting teenage mothers and young fathers”, published by PHE and LGA in 2016. You can access the new framework here.