Health and Social Care Committee Report, First 1000 days of life, House of Commons, 28 February 2019

We welcome a number of the recommendations in the influential cross-party Health and Social Care Committee’s report into the First 1000 days of life. It correctly recognises the crucial role that local government has to play in ensuring children receive the support they need during the initial formative stage of life.


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Key messages

  • ]We welcome a number of the recommendations in the influential cross-party Health and Social Care Committee’s report into the First 1000 days of life. It correctly recognises the crucial role that local government has to play in ensuring children receive the support they need during the initial formative stage of life.
  • The Committee’s recommendation that the Government should prioritise early interventions and prevention services in order to improve the health, wellbeing and life chances of future generations is positive.
  • The Committee has recommended that the Government use the 2019 Spending Review to initiate the next early years revolution. It is important that Government makes secure, long-term investment in prevention and early intervention a priority in the Spending Review as this will help support parents, children and families.
  • Councils’ public health grant funding has reduced by £531 million in cash terms and over £700 million in real terms between 2015/16 and 2019/20.  We are calling for the Government to invest in all public health services rather than create a ring-fenced fund for early years services.
  • As part of our Bright Futures campaign, we have consistently called on the Government to develop a cross-Whitehall ambition for children and young people and we welcome the recommendations of the Committee calling on the Government to deliver this.
  • It is vital that all services designed to support children in their early years offer a joined-up, multi-disciplinary approach that ensures we are delivering person-centred support that creates future generations of healthy and happy adults. Whilst we support a co-commissioning approach with the NHS, now is not the time for further changes to commissioning functions. 80 per cent of 112 outcome indicators have remained level or improved in the last six years.
  • Since 2012, the number of children judged as ‘school ready’ has increased from 52 per cent to 70 per cent. Whilst there is still work to do, this will continue to move in the right direction if Health and Care Plans (HCP) are properly funded.
  • The Committee’s recognition of the workforce issues faced by local authorities and partners delivering support services to children and families in the first 1000 days of life is vital. The workforce plan proposed by the Committee must be well resourced.
  • There has been a 20 per cent drop in the number of health visitors since 2015, following the end of the Government led initiative to increase the number of health visitors. Councils need well-trained, highly skilled health visitors and public health nurses to deliver the Health Child programme and support children and families in their first 1000 days of life.

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