Right to criticise, wrong to reinvent the wheel

The recent ResPublica and Action for Children report has been rightly welcomed by many who are critical of Cameron’s blindness towards the needs of the UK’s children.

Children are too small for a big society. They, along with other vulnerable groups, are reliant upon adults and government to provide the services, guidance and opportunities they need to flourish. They are reliant on others to rescue them from abusive or dangerous situations. They and their parents and carers need community and a firm network of support to ensure equal opportunities and a better economic future.

All of this takes planning and investment. The opposite of what we are currently experiencing under this government’s cuts. It takes local focus – on the needs of discrete groups and areas. But what it doesn’t take is localism.

How do we know this? Because the haemorrhaging of money from the early years budget is what happens when local councils are left to their own devices. Most of the decisions taken by local councils don’t make the news. We don’t get consulted as we should (several Save our Sure Start groups are launching judicial reviews to prove this – but this is an extremely expensive and drawn out process). And we can’t always rely on our local MPs to step in and battle for us. So, unless (as many parents do) you devote most of your life to taking on the council – and accepting pyrrhic victory – you and your children’s needs get trampled on. No-one speaks for you at this level. Your voice is too small to be heard.

Localism is just another way the government – in its signature ‘hands-off’ style – is abnegating all responsibility towards almost anyone except the big moneymakers. The excellent, well-established Sure Start network has been doing a brilliant job in facilitating all the things Philip Blond wants to happen. Its funding was protected by central government. Its standards assured. So why does Blond want to reinvent the wheel?

Make improvements. Call it by another name. But don’t reinvent the wheel and leave dedicated staff, fractured communities and vulnerable children in your wake.

Every child deserves a Sure Start.


About No Cuts For Kids

No Cuts For Kids wants to ensure that Sure Start Children's Centres continue to serve all our children.
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