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Children's Centres

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many Sure Start children’s centres have been built in each month of 2009. (289318)

At the end of July 2009 a total of 135 Sure Start Children’s Centres were designated across England in 2009. The following table gives the number of children’s centres designated in each month.

Month

Number of Sure Start Children’s Centres delivered

January

4

February

4

March

93

April

1

May

3

June

18

July

12

Total

135

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what estimate he has made of the number of Sure Start Children’s Centres to be operational in 2010; (291545)

(2) how many Sure Start Children’s Centres have (a) opened and (b) closed in (i) Jarrow constituency, (ii) South Tyneside, (iii) the North East and (iv) England in each year since the inception of Sure Start centres;

(3) how much capital his Department has provided for Sure Start children’s centres in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England in each year since the establishment of Sure Start;

(4) how many outreach workers have been employed in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England in each year since 1997.

We are on track to achieve our target of at least 3,500 Sure Start children’s centres by March 2010, offering access to services for all children under five and their families. As of 31 July 2009, there were 3,052 centres operational in England, providing access to services for over 2.4 million children and their families.

The following table gives details of how many centres have opened in (i) Jarrow constituency, (ii) South Tyneside, (iii) the North East and (iv) England in each year since the inception of Sure Start children’s centres. To date, no centres have been closed.

Table 1: Children’s centres opened

Jarrow

South Tyneside

North East

England

2003

0

0

6

59

2004

1

2

25

130

2005

2

1

20

254

2006

1

2

63

604

2007

1

1

33

838

2008

0

1

35

1,029

2009

0

0

5

138

Total

5

7

187

3,052

The Department allocates capital and revenue funding for children’s centres and their predecessor Sure Start local programmes to local authorities. It is for local authorities to decide how to allocate funding between individual centres. The following table contains details of the capital allocations for South Tyneside, the North East and England in each of the years since the inception of the Sure Start programme.

Table 2: Capital funding

£

South Tyneside

North East

England

1999-20061

5,000,000

61,642,396

479,638,144

2003-042

0

1,500

1,947,523

2004-06

2,269,434

28,138,878

320,870,605

2006-073

634,779

13,226,762

272,254,576

2007-083

1,227,885

24,026,753

545,033,570

2008-09

26,631

4,701,609

81,000,006

2009-10

45,999

3,867,777

169,000,002

2010-11

48,403

2,534,107

100,999,997

1 The first Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) were set up in 1999-2000. SSLPs received a single capital allocation for the period 1999-2000 to 2005-06.

2 Sure Start children’s centres were introduced from 2003-04. All former SSLPs have now become children’s centres. Capital funding for the Sure Start children’s centres capital programme was made available from 2003-04.

3 The 2006-07 and 2007-08 allocations are for the wider main capital block and includes funding for child care sustainability and extended schools, during these years local authorities had the flexibility to decide how much of their total capital allocation to spend on children’s centres and were not required to provide a breakdown of the funding provided for children’s centres.

From 2006-07 children’s centres capital formed part of the wider main capital funding block. From 2008-09 the block comprised funding for children’s centres, early years provision, child care and integrated projects. Funding in the main capital block is not ring-fenced and local authorities have the freedom to decide how much of their total capital allocation to spend on children’s centres in line with local priorities.

The Department does not collect information on the number of outreach workers employed by children’s centres. Staffing levels are a matter for local management by local authorities and their partner agencies.