Children’s centres provide access to health services – either by providing the services or by providing advice and assistance on gaining access to services. Local authorities and local health commissioners have statutory duties to consider providing services through children’s centres to ensure that families get access to the services they need. The transfer of responsibility for public health services to local authorities in October this year provides new opportunities for local areas to configure health services to best effect.
The Department of Health has been working with local authorities in order to ensure sharing regular and timely updates of live birth data between NHS trusts and children’s centres and have mapped out a process for putting in place appropriate arrangements to support a national solution.
Children's centres can also have a key role in delivering integrated reviews, which check a child's health and educational progress at age two.
Future policy on children’s centres will be informed by the planned consultation on the future of children’s centre services, which is due to be launched shortly.