The Early Intervention Grant will face a 50% reduction over the course of this parliament. Children’s centres, among other programmes, rely on this funding scheme to deliver their services, so they will have to deal with an important budget cut by 2015.
The Children’s Society addressed this issue publishing a report proposing better ways of engaging with disadvantaged families, so the services provided by the children’s centres are more efficient.
In Running with Scissors we already published a post about how centres in Birmingham are facing the cuts trying to avoid changes in frontline services. But what makes interesting the report presented by the Children’s Society is their analysis of the national trend.
The government introduced a programme of free nursery hours for two-year-old children from a poor background, so they guarantee extra funding for those centres with day care. Nevertheless, hard cuts are being made in other streams of the Early Intervention Grant as we can see in the following graph created by the Children’s Society.
The charity warns that these cuts will reduce the flexibility of the centres as they will receive more funding for two-year-olds but they will face important reductions in other early intervention services. According to the Children’s Society, the situation will be even harder for those places where they don’t deliver the new free nursery service for two-year old.
So far the centres are making the most to protect the frontline services and save money through efficiencies, but it in the next two years the Early Intervention Grant will suffer more important cuts. Before the parliament is over, it will be important to go back to the centres and check if the main services remain untouched.