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Children's Centres

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 8 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of children's centres to be located in the super output areas ranked in the (a) first to third, (b) fourth to seventh and (c) eighth to tenth deciles of deprivation by 2010. (204177)

Local authorities are responsible for the planning and delivery of Sure Start children's centres. There are currently 2,906 designated centres. On average we expect children's centres to offer services to around 800 children under five and their families so in practice one children's centre will serve a number of Super Output Areas (SOAs), as well as the SOA in which it is located. From the information provided by local authorities to our delivery partner, Together for Children (TfC), our current estimate is that around two-thirds of designated centres predominantly serve children and families living in the 30 per cent. most disadvantaged SOAs. The remaining centres predominantly serve children and families living outside of the 30 per cent. most disadvantaged SOAs.

Local authorities, supported by TfC, are currently planning the final phase of delivery of the children's centre programme, so that by 2010 there will be 3,500 centres nationally, one for every community. As part of the planning process local authorities are reviewing the reach areas of existing centres to ensure that by 2010 all under fives and their families have access to a children's centre; that the range and intensity of services in each centre reflects the needs of the local community; and that resources continue to be focused on the most disadvantaged areas.