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Lobbying & influencing

4Children works constructively with policy makers and politicians from across the political spectrum. We know that in order to achieve change for children and families we need to win the argument with those that have the power to make change happen.

4Children is a key influencer, ideas shaper and change maker, from Whitehall to community hall. In April 2011 4Children became the Department for Education’s lead Strategic Partner for Early Years and Childcare. This means that we have a crucial role in co-producing policy with the Government and representing the sector’s views and experiences.

Building on this successful work, 4Children became a co-founder of The Children's Partnership in May 2013, which is the Government’s voluntary sector strategic partner for children and families. The Partnership is leading and supporting the development of high quality sustainable support for children, young people and families through two way communication, policy advice and sector development.

In addition to these formal advisory roles, 4Children also maintains strong relationships with all the major parties in parliament. As part of this, 4Children provides the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Children’s Centres, a cross-party group of MPs and peers who come together several times a year to discuss key issues affecting Children's Centres.

All Party Parliamentary Group on Children's Centres


NEXT MEETING: "Supporting Families with Complex Needs" (Wednesday 13th January, 17.30-19.00)

The Group's next meeting will be the fourth and final session of it's "Children's Centres: Fit for Families of the Future" inquiry, and will look at the provision of support to families with complex needs through Children's Centres. The meeting will take place on Wednesday 13th January 2016 at 17.30-19.00.

If you would like to receive further information about the Group or be added to its mailing list to hear about its work, please contact John Davies: john.davies@4Children.org.uk

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Children’s Centres was launched in March 2010, with three main aims: to champion the good work of children's centres; to identify and share good practice; and to consider and inform policy development on key issues.

The Group held its most recent Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 7th July 2015, at which Fiona Bruce MP was elected as the Group's Chair for the forthcoming year. Three Vice Chairs were also elected - the full list of Officers for the 2015/16 parliamentary session is: 

  • Chair: Fiona Bruce MP (Conservative, Congleton)
  • Vice Chair: Sharon Hodgson MP (Labour, Washington and Sunderland West)
  • Vice Chair: Bill Esterson MP (Labour, Sefton Central)
  • Vice Chair: Earl of Listowel (Crossbench)

You can read minutes of the Group's most recent AGM by clicking here. Full details of the Group's registration as an official All Party Group can be found on the Parliament website.

"Children's Centres: Fit for Families of the Future" - 2015/16 Inquiry

During the 2015/16 parliamentary session, the Group is conducting an inquiry into the future of Children's Centres. Entitled "Children's Centres: Fit for Families of the Future", this will particularly examine the role that Children's Centres can play as hubs for local services and family support.

The inquiry will encompass four meetings, each examining a specific aspect of Children's Centres' provision. The Group will also issue a call for evidence to allow stakeholders to feed in their views. The full programme of meetings is as follows:

Meeting 1 - "Health and Development": The inquiry's first meeting took place on Wednesday 28th October and examined "Health and Development". This included presentations from Hilary Earl (County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust), Jane Young (Nottinghamshire Children and Families Partnership), Yvonne Millar and Fiona Horrigan (London Borough of Islington) and Jonathan Rallings (Barnardo's). You can read minutes of the session by clicking here.

Meeting 2 - "Employment Support and Childcare": The inquiry's second meeting took place of Wednesday 18th November and examined "Employment Support and Childcare". This included presentations from Fiona Colton and Liz Annetts (Derby City Council), Vicky Lant and Kay Tarry (Barnardo's) and Dr Julian Grenier (Sheringham Nursery School and Children's Centre). You can read minutes of the session by clicking here.

Meeting 3 - "Relationship Support": The inquiry's third meeting took place on Wednesday 9th December and examined "Relationship Support". This included presentations from Honor Rhodes (Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships), Arlette Kavanagh (Changing Futures NE), Penny Thompson (Hartlepool Borough Council), Ashley Warke (Packington Children's Centre) and Jenny Andrews (Hertfordshire County Council). Minutes of the session will be published here once they are available.

Meeting 4 - "Supporting Families with Complex Needs": The inquiry's fourth meeting will take place on Wednesday 13th January 2016 (17.30-19.00) and will focus on "Supporting Families with Complex Needs". Further details of the session will be published here once confirmed.

Call for Evidence - The terms of reference for the Group's Call for Evidence can be accessed by clicking here for those who are interested in responding - completed submissions should be sent to john.davies@4children.org.uk by 12 noon on Monday 11th January.

Previous Work (2010-2015)

"Best Practice for a Sure Start" Inquiry: During the previous Parliament, the Group undertook a wide-ranging inquiry into best practice across the Children's Centre sector, led by its former Chair Andrea Leadsom MP (Conservative, South Northamptonshire). This culminated in the publication of a major report, "Best Practice for a Sure Start: The Way Forward for Children's Centres" , in July 2013, which you can read in full by clicking here.

Pre-Election Report: Following the completion of its inquiry, the Group held a series of meetings during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 sessions to examine a number of prominent issues for Children's Centres including the delivery of integrated health services, early education and childcare, and quality and accountability. The findings of these meetings are summarised in a "Pre-Election Report" published by the Group in March 2015, just prior to the General Election. The report made a series of recommendations to any incoming Government to ensure the continued success of Children's Centres, and can be read in full by clicking here.