The early years of a child's life, from conception to age 2, is vital to their ongoing physical, mental and emotional health and development. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Conception to Age 2, in its Build Great Britons report, pointed out that:
From the moment of conception, through to birth and the first year of life every aspect of a baby’s environment influences its physical, emotional and social development. In an ideal world, all children should be wanted, nurtured, loved, protected and valued by emotionally available and sensitively responsive parents. Such an environment allows the child to develop in the most optimal way, with emotional wellbeing, capacity to form and maintain relationships, healthy brain and language development leading onto cognitive development, school readiness and lifelong learning. Such children contribute to the establishment of a caring, nurturing, proactive and creative society with negligible levels of child abuse and neglect.
Sadly, this is often not the case, with enormous societal and human costs and consequences:
At its starkest, preventing these adverse childhood experiences could reduce hard drug use by 59%, incarceration by 53%, violence by 51% and unplanned teen pregnancies by 38%.
Public spending during a child's life
The bulk of public spending during a child’s life comes in their teenage years, but there is a strong case for investing public money much earlier. What’s more there is strong evidence showing how we can spend such resources to good effect. The Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, the Rt. Hon Norman Lamb MP, has told the Committee the problem is the gap between what we know and what is currently provided. The Committee’s inquiry is not planning to re-examine the evidence base or the economic case. Instead it plans to focus on the following three key areas: national strategy, current spending and barriers to investment and local provision.
Call for written submissions
The Committee would like to receive written submissions on the following questions:
1. National strategy
- The top priorities for a national strategy, based on existing evidence and lessons from other countries, particularly the devolved administrations.
- The current roles, responsibilities and functions across Whitehall, executive agencies and other non-departmental public bodies for the First 1000 Days, including suggestions for how these arrangements could be made more effective.
2. Current spending and barriers to investment
- Recent public spending on services covering the First 1000 Days.
- Difficulties in making the case for investment nationally and locally.
3. Local provision
- The scope, scale and current performance of provision for First 1000 Days of life, including universal and targeted approaches.
- Barriers to delivery (e.g. workforce shortages, financial constraints on councils)
- What a high-quality evidence-based approach to service provision would look like for the First 1000 Days of life.
Send your written submissions through The first 1000 days of life inquiry page.
Deadline for written submissions is Friday 7th September 2018.
Targeted call for evidence (local councils and CCGs)
In addition to the open call for evidence above, the Health and Social Care Committee would also like to invite local councils and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to supply evidence on what provision looks like for the first 1000 days across the country, along with the factors that have influenced the current landscape of provision.
If you are a representative of a local council or CCG in England, the Health and Social Care Committee would specifically like to receive written submissions on the following questions:
- To what extent and how have commissioners in your area prioritised the First 1000 Days?
- Within your area, can you describe to what extent the commissioning and delivery of services for the first 1000 days are integrated? How could this be improved?
- Thinking about the evidence-base and the needs of your population, are there any gaps in local provision?
- What, if any, barriers are there to delivering the best outcomes for children in your area in their first 1000 days?
- How do you assess whether the current provision in your local area is improving outcomes? (Jointly with partners and as an organisation?)
- Thinking about your local area, what have been the key changes in the provision of services for conception to age 2 changed in the last decade? What have you most recently been involved in changing?
- Are there any examples of service provision for conception to age 2 implemented in your local area that you would consider to be innovative or 'best practice'?
Send your written submissions through the First 1000 days of life inquiry page.
Deadline for written submissions is Friday 7 September 2018.