Sure Start government funding cut in Hammersmith and Fulham

January 6, 2011 at 11:35 am 1 comment

by Claire McEneaney

I watched with interest the BBC news segment this morning announcing that funding to nine Sure Start centres will be cut in Hammersmith & Fulham. On the face of it, this is bad news – we know that investing money and time into a child’s early education has great impact on how they go on to develop in later life.

However, I began to do a little digging to find out more, and discovered that although government funding to the centres is at risk, the council is clear that it doesn’t want the centres to close. In fact, it wants to encourage a variety of different providers – from local schools, businesses, community groups, and voluntary organisations – to take responsibility for the running the centres.

This exactly what we have been talking about a lot in our work on radical efficiency. Diversifying your provider base brings new insights and ideas, that can lead to new approaches which could vastly improve outcomes for the under 5’s. It does not have to be a bad thing that these centre’s are no longer government controlled and run, in fact, based on some of our ethnographic research that we’ve done on the Transforming Early Years programme, we know that many parents avoid state-run services because of mistrust and fear.

The cuts to public service funding will be hard, of course, and in many circumstances could have a detrimental effect. But we should try to see this time as an opportunity for change. We know that we can’t continue to operate the system under the same models – often they are too costly and ineffective. This is the time to instigate radical transformation that reshape our public services into ones that deliver much better outcomes and user experiences, as well as operating at lower cost.

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Entry filed under: Education & Children's Services, Local Authorities, Local Innovation, Radical Efficiency.

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