Committee launch Sure Start Children’s Centres inquiry

20 August 2009

The Children, Schools and Families Committee is to undertake an inquiry into Sure Start Children’s Centres. The inquiry will examine whether the Children’s Centres model of integrated services for under-5s and their families promotes early childhood development and is an effective response to deprivation.

The inquiry will also look at how the policy is being delivered, including:

  • How models of Children’s Centres have developed as the programme spreads from the most deprived neighbourhoods
  • The range and effectiveness of services provided by Children’s Centres
  • Funding, sustainability and value for money
  • Staffing, governance, management and strategic planning
  • How well Children’s Centres work with other partners and services, especially schools and health services
  • Whether services are being accessed by those most in need and how effective they are for the most vulnerable.

The deadline for written evidence submissions is 12 October 2009.

The Children, Schools and Families Committee examines the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Children, Schools and Families and its associated public bodies. The Committee chooses its own subjects of inquiry, within the overall terms of reference. It invites written evidence from interested parties and holds public evidence sessions. At the end of each inquiry, the Committee will normally agree a Report based on the evidence received, which usually contains recommendations to the Government and other bodies.

Submitting evidence to the Committee

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked 'Children’s Centres inquiry'. The Committee’s strong preference is for submissions in electronic form, although hard copy originals will be accepted and should be sent to: Kathryn Smith, Committee Assistant, Children, Schools and Families Select Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.

Submissions should:

  • be no more than 3,000 words in length
  • begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  • have numbered paragraphs; and
  • (if in electronic form) be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

For Data Protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so that a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees containing further information is available:

Please note that:

  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, although not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • The Committee does not normally investigate individual cases.

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