Our 10 Year Childcare Strategy has highlighted the need for further Government support to increase the child care options open to parents especially in rural or disadvantaged areas. Since April 2005, our emphasis has been on local authorities sustaining existing good quality child care places rather than creating new ones. While Sure Start children's centres in the most disadvantaged areas must offer integrated early learning and day care provision as part of their core services, we have never intended centres to set up in competition with good existing provision. Local authorities must consult private, voluntary and independent providers when planning their children's centres strategy and, by working in partnership with them, plan to make the best use of the experience and expertise of local providers.
The Together for Children consortium, appointed by DfES to support local authorities with their ongoing delivery of Sure Start children's centres, are challenging them to maximise their use of private, voluntary and community sector organisations in delivering children's centre services.