Engaging the Voluntary & Community Sector in Children’s Centre Commissioning

4Children worked with the voluntary and community sector to help increase their management of children centres or delivery of children centre services in several pilot areas throughout England.

The engagement of the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) in delivery of all aspects of children’s services has long been recognised and valued. Many local VCS groups have strong links with hard to reach communities and are therefore well placed to encourage/increase community engagement at all levels.

This particular project involved 4Children enabling and facilitating local authorities to examine current delivery methods in children’s centres and look at how to engage with the VCS as part of their commissioning process. The programme worked with the VCS, Children’s Centre Managers and Local Authority commissioners to identify any potential issues and barriers and develop solutions to ensure long lasting and productive relationships in the delivery of early interventions.

The programme worked with each local authority to:

  • agree a timed delivery plan based on clear objectives
  • set up a task group of local partners to oversee the programme
  • carry out research with the VCS, children centre managers and local authority to discover local barriers and preferred models for future service delivery
  • provide a workshop that tackles a key barrier discovered
  • showcase the findings at regional events

4Children worked with the Fatherhood Institute and Contact a Family to ensure that their expertise was part of the local discussions. 4Children also had an Advisory Board that included Children England, Pen Green, and the Pre School Learning Alliance to help respond to the issues identified.

In 2011-12, we worked with the following local authorities: Darlington, Knowsley, Leeds, Luton, Kent, Westminster, Barnet, Bexley and Poole. In 2012-13, we continued to work with Darlington, Kent, and Poole and new partners such as Hillingdon, NE Lincs, Telford & Wrekin, Greenwich, Northamptonshire, and Richmond.

At the end of the two years, 4Children developed working case studies that identify successful methods to engage the VCS and show that the support will shift intentions of all the three partners to increase VCS involvement in children’s centre management and service delivery.

Download the Children’s Centres Voluntary and Community Sector programme Final Report and Appendicies below:

  1. Children's centres Voluntary and Community Sector programme Final Report 2011 - 2013
  2. Children's Centre Voluntary and Community Sector programme final report Executive Summary and practice guidance 2011 - 2013
  3. Development plan template
  4. Factsheet 2 - Governance at a glance
  5. Factsheet 3 - Cooperative Commissioning
  6. Factsheet 4 - Cooperative Trust
  7. Factsheet 5 - Mutual
  8. Factsheet 6 - School company
  9. Factsheet 7 - Lead partner consortia
  10. Factsheet 8 - Joint venue
  11. Factsheet 9 - Cooperative commissioning
  12. Workshop presentation
  13. Focus conversation workshop presentation
  14. Focused conversation script for staff
  15. Open space questions
  16. Scenario
  17. Scenario workshop presentation
  18. VCS Survey national findings
  19. Workshop evaluation summary 2011 -12
  20. Overall evaluation summary 2012 - 13
  21. Attitude survey 2011 - 12
  22. Attitude survey 2012 - 13
  23. Small to medium VCS feedback

For further details please contact:

John Alwyine-Mosely

Early Years Advisor