London Borough of Barnet

Cabinet agrees new funding formula for Children’s Centres

Published Wednesday 18 July 2012

A new funding allocation scheme for Barnet’s Children’s Centres, which will see those families most in need receiving additional activities and services, was agreed last night (17 July).

Barnet Council currently funds 13 Children’s Centres and 8 linked outreach venues with a budget of £4.3m. This budget will remain the same for the financial year 2012/13 and will be distributed among the Children’s Centres in a targeted way, benefiting the needs of the most vulnerable families and communities in Barnet.

Following extensive consultation, the new funding allocation will see the current subsidy for childcare provision in Children’s Centres removed, with the money retargeted to the most disadvantaged areas and to services for the most vulnerable families.  Children’s Centres which will receive an increase in their allocations will use this additional money to employ extra outreach staff offering tailored services* for vulnerable families in their communities. 

These changes will come into force from 1 September 2012.  Children’s Centres with childcare will continue to receive some subsidy until the financial year 2014/15 to cushion the new funding allocation. 

While some of the Children’s Centres will see an increase in funding, others will see a decrease.  Children’s Centres which will see a reduction in funding will still run the same level of community based activities including play and stay sessions, family support, midwifery services, breastfeeding support, parenting programmes and speech and language therapy.  The council has been working closely with those Children’s Centres which will see a decrease in funding to minimise any impact to families.

Families will still be entitled to a number of local and central government schemes which support them in accessing good quality childcare. These include Working Tax Credits, a targeted scheme offering 10 hours free childcare to vulnerable two year olds, 15 hours free childcare to all three and four year olds plus extra hours of free childcare for vulnerable children.

Councillor Andrew Harper, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families, said: “At a time of limited resource I genuinely feel we have a moral duty to target funding to those in greatest need.

“Children’s Centres that reach out successfully to vulnerable families will be rewarded, an approach which has worked already in a number of our children’s centres which have seen a 25 per cent increase in the number of new families visiting.”

* Specific services would include:

(1)     Physical literacy project – enabling children to use the outdoor environment as a classroom

(2)     Set up new stay and play sessions for younger children (12 0 18 months) in a primary school

(3)     Run Sensory sessions for children with SEN in partnership with Fairplay Barnet

(4)     Running English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses at CC venues

(5)     Work with local schools on transition and tracking children.

Contact Press Officer: Sue Cocker