Children’s centres, early years and childcare

The early years agenda continues to be one of national importance with the sector recognising its value in providing a strong foundation for all children on which to build. This recognition comes at a time when utilisation of relevant services increases even whilst budgets are still being slashed.

At RedQuadrant, we have experience of planning and implementing early years’ services as well as providing service evaluations and recommendations for maximising available funds. Our approach is strengths-based; we firmly believe in the value of good quality early years provision and are committed to working with organisations to build on existing positive practices and identify opportunities for improvement (see also Early intervention).

Dennis Vergne  07980 541990

We have a great deal of experience within children's services. We have worked with councils across the country including Wakefield, Devon and Cambridgeshire on projects spanning early intervention, safeguarding, fostering and adoption and developing new models of delivery, as well as with the Department for Education (DfE).

Our work in this field is led by Dennis Vergne, one of our founding partner, and a recognised organisational change expert with a passion for enabling transformational change that sticks, turning ideas into effective practice and behaviours.

Buckinghamshire County Council – strategic review of children’s centres

This review aimed to address the following questions to inform the re-commissioning of children’s centres in Buckinghamshire:
What should be the council’s vision, purpose and future commissioning priorities in relation to children’s centres?
What is the most effective and efficient configuration of children’s centres?

The review was to take into account the council’s priorities of meeting the needs of vulnerable families in deprived areas of the county and reducing the council’s overall expenditure. The project involved framing Buckinghamshire children’s centres within the national context of expectations placed on children’s centres and identified criteria by which future models would be judged. Further stages of work included a comprehensive collation and analysis of available data at centre and provider level, significant stakeholder engagement to ensure that the views of all the current providers and partners, as well as potential partners in the future, were collected and used to inform this review, and research across other local authorities to develop case studies of innovative models of delivery and identification of options for income generation. The project culminated in the development of a long list of potential configuration models and an evaluative assessment tool developed for and completed of the centres with respect to this.

One of our principal consultants in this area is Nigel Toms, who is skilled in developing organisational change programmes delivering year on year savings across children’s and adult services, including the development of a ‘mixed economy’ approach to service provision. Working in Leicestershire Children’s and Young People’s Services during 2012/13 Nigel supported the development of an early help programme which reconfigured commissioned and directly provided services, secured improved (Good) inspection judgements and reduced costs by 25%.