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Children's Centres

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many Sure Start children’s centres are open; and how many he expects to be open by (a) 31 January, (b) 29 February, (c) 31 March, (d) 30 April, (e) 31 May and (f) 30 June 2008. (180886)

There are 1,934 operational children’s centres as of 18 January. Local authorities are responsible for the provision of Sure Start children’s centres in their areas. Local authorities are currently reporting to the Department’s delivery partner, Together for Children, on their estimated dates for designation of further children’s centres during 2008. TfC’s own estimate, based on their work with local authorities, is that 2,500 centres will be open by 31March.

Phase 3 of the Sure Start children’s centres programme begins in April 2008 and ends in 2010. Some of these centres will not involve major capital work and have much shorter lead times. Local authorities have not yet been asked to report their estimates for the total number of centres to be open by the end of April, May and June.