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This week we published The Right Start, which explores the practice of live birth data sharing between local authorities and children’s centres. With 3.7 children currently living in poverty in the UK, the role of children’s centres in supporting vulnerable families is vital now more than ever.
Findings obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that almost half of local authorities are not currently providing live birth data to children’s centres in their area on a regular basis. Without this data, children’s centres are unable to identify the most disadvantaged families and meet Ofsted performance targets.
The government has previously provided statutory guidance on the sharing of this data but our report demonstrates that there is a need for further practical support in legislation. This is shown by the fact that 6 in 10 local authorities that are not sharing data are unable to do so because they have not reached an agreement with their local health service due to complex legal frameworks.
One local authority explained the obstacle this way: 'Live birth data has never been attained historically due to data sharing challenges.'
As the Earl of Listowel discusses in his blog, We need to overcome information-sharing barriers, we are calling on government to provide clarity and support for the practice of live birth data sharing.
We've summarised some of the report's key findings and recommendations in our infographic below.
Please read The Right Start.