Monday, 27 August 2012

Sure Start funding concerns

The issue surrounding Sure Start funding locally is due to be in focus over the next fortnight as its clear that another Medway Tory promise to protect Sure Start is actually anything but if you are to believe the latest cabinet report on funding for nursery provision

The government is about to place a significant additional strain on local services but has not provided additional support in the form of funding to undertake or persue this objective.

Despite the rhetoric of the Conservatives in the last election we are potentially seeing a shortfall in budget of £400,000 as previous funding has been removed to a grant where the money is not ring-fenced to young people. 

Indeed that funding may never be returned either as the DSG Grant only supports those in Medway Schools; and that does not include nursery provision.

Despite expected number increases the Council has no funding from government to build additional capacity and infrastructure; this will place significant pressures on local Sure Starts and other support services.

Having nursery and support for two-year olds is very welcome but reducing the funding; cutting capital projects and forcing together already stretched services is unwelcome; indeed services for many may worsen as they become overstretched.

Some of our current nurseries will also find it a stretch to train sufficient staff and will have to make fundemental changes to admission arrangements to cope with the increased pressure. This with limited financial support.

This is not what people voted for in May 2010; this is not the protection of Sure Start but will see the service stretched at a time of budgetary constraint. 

I dont know who will win; but at this point it looks like the Tories are trying to persue a policy without the funding to do it. That puts significant pressure on staff and services and indeed on the quality of the product.