The title of the report refers to the Labour initiative ‘Sure Start’ which aimed to provide a national network of children’s centres to support young children and families.
The report recommends:
- The government should complete the long-promised review of the children’s centre programme to confirm its national importance and overall purpose with national guidelines. This could stop the piecemeal local closure of centres which is creating a postcode lottery of provision
- A national register of children’s centres should be maintained which establishes minimum levels of provision for inclusion. Clear criteria of what constitutes a ‘children’s centre’ should be established. Better and more up to date data should be collected and published nationally on all children’s centres
- Once the review is completed, the government should consider re establishing inspections of a set of core services, to embed children’s centres as a national programme, and ensure accountability and quality of service delivery.