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Sure Start under threat

18 January 2011

As councils are forced to make cuts to their children’s services budgets the future of many Sure Start Centres is under threat. The ring fencing of funding for Sure Start Children’s Centres has been removed, leaving them vulnerable to closure. It is estimated that one centre in each council face closure.

Before councils move to close any Sure Start Centres it is important that they bear in mind their duties under the Childcare Act 2006 "to consult before opening, closing or significantly changing children's centres". In drawing up any plans for closing a children’s centre, the local authority will need to consider whether it can continue to adequately meet its duty under the act to make arrangements for sufficient children’s centres to address local needs. Any failure to do so, or to carry out a sufficient consultation will leave their decision open to judicial review.

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