London Borough of Barnet

Funding Proposals for Children’s Centres

Published Thursday 10 May 2012

Parents, carers and childcare professionals are being consulted on proposed changes to the funding allocation for Barnet’s Children’s Centres.

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. However the way this money will be distributed among the Children’s Centres will change under the proposals, benefiting the needs of vulnerable families the most.

Under the proposals, which are being consulted on until 15 June, some of the centres will see an increase in funding while others will see a decrease. These changes will be gradually introduced from 1 September 2012 to 31 March 2014.

The proposals intend to remove the current subsidy for childcare provision in Children’s Centres, re-target this money to the most disadvantaged areas and to services for the most vulnerable families, while financially rewarding Children’s Centres for reaching out to those families most in need.

Councillor Andrew Harper, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families, said: “The budget for how much we spend on our Children’s Centres will remain the same. However, the way we allocate this money will change under the proposals so vulnerable families will benefit the most.

“The proposals will also reward children’s centres that reach out to vulnerable families. We have already trialled this approach in a number of Children’s Centres and seen a 25 per cent increase in the number of new families visiting. By removing the childcare subsidy our aim is to identify and support those families who need our services the most.”

Families will still be entitled to a number of local and central government schemes which support them in accessing 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.

Responses to the public consultation will be taken into account at a Cabinet Resources Committee meeting on 17 July.

Further information

Contact Press Officer: Sue Cocker