FAQ - Sure Start Children's Centres

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					                                      Children’s Centres
                    Frequently Asked Questions for governors

Q1:      What are Children’s Centres?

A: Children‟s Centres (CC) are places where children under five years old and their
   families can receive integrated services and information. By the end of March 2010,
   every community will be served by a Children‟s Centre, offering permanent universal
   provision across the country, ensuring that every child gets the best start in life. These
   services vary according to centre but may include:

        Integrated early education and childcare - all centres offering early years provision
         have a minimum half-time qualified teacher (increasing to full time within 18 months
         of the centre opening).
        Support for parents - including advice on parenting, local childcare options and
         access to specialist services for families.
        Child and family health services - ranging from health screening, health visitor
         services to breast-feeding support.
        Helping parents into work - with links to the local Jobcentre Plus and training.

Q2:      Who is leading the development of Children’s Centres?

A:       Since 12th January 2010 local authorities have had a duty to ensure adequate
         provision of Children‟s Centres across their areas. Local authorities are expected to
         plan their Children‟s Centres to meet the needs of local communities, in consultation
         with parents, the private, voluntary and independent sectors, Primary Care Trusts,
         Jobcentre Plus and other key partners to deliver a range of services.

Q3:      How many Centres will there be in Westminster?

A:       There has been a phased implementation to Children‟s Centres, which started in
         2004 and will finish in March 2010.

         Westminster currently has 12 Children‟s Centres, which are at different stages of
         development. By end of March 2010 Westminster will have 15 centres.

         Each centre has to provide a minimum level of service called the „core offer‟. There
         are 2 core offers; one for the 30% most deprived areas and one for the 70% least
         deprived. However, any family who has a higher level of need, regardless of where
         they live, should be able to access this support.

Q4:      How long have they been running?

A:       Roll out started in April 2004. Most of the early Children‟s Centres developed from
         local programmes, early excellence centres or Neighbourhood nurseries

Q:       Where are they in Westminster?

Children‟s Centres Q&A March 2010 AF / JV      1
A:       There is a centre in each neighbourhood but families can access the centre which is
         most convenient for their needs. There is a „lead‟ setting for each Children‟s Centre,
         which acts as a local „hub‟. Listed below are the 12 Children‟s Centres and leads:

North West locality

        Queens Park Children‟s Centre, Dorothy Gardner Centre, 293 Shirland Road,
         London W9 3JY
        Harrow Road Children‟s Centre, Mary Paterson Nursery School, 13 Riverto n Close,
         London W9 3DS
        Westbourne Children‟s Centre, Edward Wilson Primary School, Senior Street,
         London W2 5TL
        Bayswater Children‟s Centre, St Mary of the Angels RC Primary School,
         Shrewsbury Road, London W2
        Queensway Children‟s Centre, Hallfield Infants School,

North East locality

        Church Street Children‟s Centre, Portman Early Childhood Centre, 12 – 18
         Salisbury Street, London NW8 8DE
        Maida Vale Children‟s Centre, St Augustine‟s CE Primary School, Kilburn Park
         Road, London NW6 5XA
        Micky star Cildren‟s Centre, 58 – 61 St Michael‟s Street, London W2 1QR
        Paddington Green Children‟s Centre, Park Place Villas, London W2 1SP

South locality

        West End Children‟s Centre, Soho Family centre, St James‟s Residence, 23 Brewer
         Street, London W1F 0RN
        Churchill Gardens Children‟s Centres, Churchill Hill Gardens Primary School,
         Ranelagh Road, London SW1P 4LX
        Marsham Street Children‟s Centre, 121 Marsham Street, London Sw1P 4LX

     The 3 new Centres will be a)Abbey Road and Regents Park, b) Marylebone and c)
     Knightsbridge and Belgravia. The lead for these centres will be the library services.

Q5:      What are the governance arrangements for the Children’s Centres?

A:       Each Children‟s Centre is grouped into a locality. There are 3 localities across the
         city – north west, north east and south. Each has a Children‟s Centre Advisory
         Board. The Advisory Board is an alliance of key agencies including the school and
         individuals and as such has no legal status. For example, the partnership cannot
         employ staff or own buildings; this must be done by a member organisation on
         behalf of the partnership. It is recognised that Advisory Board members will have
         their own organisational policies and governance arrangements but come together
         to find new ways to meet the needs of local families and to set shared targets, with
         the aim of raising the attainment of individual children and their families.

         Westminster City Council (WCC) is the accountable body for Children‟s Centres and
         is strategically accountable to the DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and
         families) for the implementation of Children‟s Centres across Westminster. Central
         to this strategic responsibility is the development and co-ordination of local
         partnerships and management arrangements.

Children‟s Centres Q&A March 2010 AF / JV      2
         Each Children‟s Centre has a local delivery group (sometimes this can operate
         across 2 centres), which meets to plan local delivery. These groups report to their
         respective locality advisory board.

Q6:      How much time will our headteacher spend at the Children’s Centre (or on CC

A:       This will vary. Each CC will have a Manager with day to day responsibility for the
         Centre but it is hoped that the headteacher of a lead setting will provide line
         management of the Children‟s Centre Manager and participate (or lead) in setting
         the strategic direction of the local centre.

Q7:      What governing body (gb) involvement should we have and what structures
         do we need?

A:       Some schools are “lead settings” ie they have the main responsibility for co -
         ordinating provision in their Children‟s Centre. The headteacher will line-manage
         the Children‟s Centre Manager who will be responsible for developing the inter-
         agency team in the Children‟s Centre. All CC managers are employed by
         Westminster City Council as the accountable body and managed by the
         headteacher through a service level agreement.

         The headteacher will provide regular feedback to the governing body on CC
         development and progress. The governing body includes representatives of the
         local community and is well placed to contribute to discussions about appropriate
         services to match local need and to give feedback. Where schools are lead settings
         the governing body may choose to have representation on the Children‟s Centre
         Advisory Board and local delivery group.

         The governing body will want to discuss the impact of the CC on the well-being and
         achievement of children and local families. It will also need to keep under review the
         impact on school staff workload and be prepared to allocate support and resources.

         The budget should take account of any joint use wear, tear and damage and ensure
         that any lettings or joint use agreements and contracts are fair and do not
         disadvantage the school. To achieve this the gb might develop a separate
         committee with specific terms of reference to oversee community provision or
         include relevant issues in the terms of reference of existing committees. Some
         schools have joint committees with neighbouring schools to look at common issues
         and community provision

Q8:      How does the Children’s Centre relate to extended services provision?

A:       Children‟s Centres and extended services are both aimed at providing extra support
         for families and their children. Where a Children‟s Centre is located in a school this
         means that parents can have access to a range of additional services from 0 – 11
         years. To ensure that this is meaningful provision for families it is essential that the
         two are planned together.

Q9:      If our school / centre is not a lead how can we get involved?

A:       Each Children‟s Centre has a local delivery group, which meets to discuss and plan
         local services. Partners within the area are very welcome to attend this group. For
         more details contact Jayne Vertkin on 020 7479 8778 or

Children‟s Centres Q&A March 2010 AF / JV       3
Q10:     What is the relationship between provision for under fives in schools and
         Children’s Centres?

A:       The Children‟s Centres consist of providers in a given catchment area, who are
         delivering services to the 0 – 5 year age group and their families. The aim is that
         these services will be provided through one point of contact. Therefore under 5s
         provision within the school is an essential component of the Children‟s Centre.

Q11:     Who is responsible for the Children’s Centre building on my site?

A:       The school is responsible for the day to day management of the building if it is on its
         site. This includes responsibility for health and safety within the building.
         Practitioners working from the centre will be from a variety of organisations and the
         school would not be responsible for any negligence resulting from their poor

         All running costs of the Children‟s Centre building will be funded from Children‟s
         Centre revenue.

Q12:     If the school is responsible for health and safety, does that mean that we can
         control how the practitioners carry out their activities

A:       The Governing Body may not “control” how the practitioners carry out their
         activities. In so far as individual professionals practise out of the premises, doctors,
         nurses etc, responsibility for any professional negligence issues would sit with the
         individual practitioner and their employer. Liability might only arise if the premises
         were in some way deficient and this directly caused injury to a person using the

Q13:     If the gb does not “control” how the practitioner carries out their duties, what
         is the governing body position if the practitioner breaches health and safety
         regulations and there is an accident

A:       If there a breach of health & safety regulations and there is an accident in the
         administration of a treatment or procedure, the Governing Body might only be
         responsible if the accident was caused by faulty equipment in the building which
         was the responsibility of the Governing Body or by a faulty aspect of the building.

Q14:     Who is responsible for the quality of all provision at the centre on our site?

A:       The Children‟s Centre manager will be responsible for identifying any quality issues
         relating to provision in the Children‟s Centre; this may be on or off site. In the first
         instance the manager will discuss this with his / her line manager and the Head of
         Children‟s Centres development. A plan of action will be agreed and if not resolved
         the matter will be taken to the respective advisory board.

Q15:     Who employs the staff? .

A:       Children‟s Centre staff are employed by a variety of statutory, voluntary and private
         providers – eg social workers by Westminster City Council, Health Visitors by the
         Primary Care Trust. The Council will have an SLA with the employers of the
         practitioners for them to practice from the Centre. Health and Safety and insurance
         responsibilities should be set out in that document.

Children‟s Centres Q&A March 2010 AF / JV        4
Q16:     Who has effective control over the practitioner while they are in the
         Children's Centre? Are they required to follow the instructions of the
         head/other teachers?

         Their employers would have effective control over practitioners whilst they are on
         the Children's Centre premises. Practitioners would be expected to accede to any
         reasonable requests however and to comply with instructions eg to evacuate in

Q17:     What if a child is hurt at a session held in the Children’s Centre?

A:       If a child is hurt whilst in the Children‟s Centre building the same health and safety
         procedures are followed as for other incidents in the school. If the incident involves
         a member of staff who is employed by a partner agency notification of the incident
         must be sent to their employing organisation. This will be managed by the
         Children‟s Centre manager. Any liability will rest with the organisation responsible
         for the accident.

Q18:     Who insures the building? Who pays any excess on the insurance?

A:       The building will be insured as a part of the school premises. Any excess on the
         insurance relating to Children‟s Centre usage will be paid with Children‟s Centre

Q19:     Will there be a formal arrangement in place with Westminster about the
         building on our site?

A:       Yes there will be a formal agreement relating to the management of any Children‟s
         Centre annex. This will outline the ongoing management and maintenance of the
         building plus identify the revenue contribution from the Children‟s Centre.

Q20:     Who will respond to any complaints about the Children’s Centre?

A:       In the first instance, the Children‟s Centre manager will respond to any complaints.
         As part of this process the manager will liaise with their line manager and the head
         of Children‟s Centres development.

Q21:     How do we contact the local Children’s Centre?

A:       For more information about the Children‟s Centres contact Jayne Vertkin, Head of
         Children‟s Centres Development, on 020 7479 8778 or

MORE Information

Children‟s Centres Q&A March 2010 AF / JV       5

Children‟s Centres Q&A March 2010 AF / JV   6

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