The Early Intervention Foundation Consortium, which is chaired by the government’s adviser on early intervention and Labour MP Graham Allen, incorporates 25 national partners, including the Local Government Association, the charities Action for Children and Achievement for All, and the improvement body C4EO.
Allen told CYP Now that “pre-contract negotiations” are set to take place immediately, with a view to signing off their work “at a ceremony in the very near future”.
The Department for Education is to provide £3.5m to fund the foundation for a two-year period, after which it will become self-financing. It will act as a central point to help local commissioners decide which services to fund based on “robust evidence of cost, benefits, risks and projected outcomes”.
According to the Early Intervention Foundation Consortium’s mission statement, it will “be an independent, authoritative voice campaigning to change the culture from late intervention to early intervention at national and local level” and “will champion and promote early intervention across the UK”.
“We are thrilled with this news and ready to begin work immediately,” Allen said. “We see it as confirmation of the commitment of the Prime Minister and the Education Secretary to realise the potential of early intervention in children's lives.”
He added that the work of the foundation would help “achieve lasting savings in public expenditure and lasting gains for local communities and for British society as a whole”.
“Everyone involved in the consortium, including our 25 national partners and hundreds of local councils, individuals and well-wishers, is eager and ready to begin this vital work,” he said.
“Our central purpose is clear: to help ensure that all babies, children and young people achieve the bedrock of essential social and emotional skills that will enable them to thrive at school and further education, in work and in later life, especially as parents and carers. It will take a generation to make the impact that we want but that work has to start with the first step.
“Now that the Secretary of State has awarded us preferred status, the plans we have been working on for more than a year can now swing into action. We will be able to support both local and national government in devising successful early intervention policies and taking them to scale, and by providing the strongest possible evidence base for early intervention approaches.”
The DfE invited tenders to run the Early Intervention Foundation in March this year. A DfE statement said: “As a result of this procurement exercise and subsequent negotiations, we are pleased to announce that The Early Intervention Foundation Consortium, with 4Children as the lead organisation, has been selected as the preferred bidder.
“We are currently in the final stage of negotiations with a view to reaching agreement shortly. Once established, the aim of the foundation will be to provide advice and support to local commissioners on evidence, social finance and payment-by-results relating to early intervention to assist their own procurement and evaluation. It will also aim to build the evidence base on what works in early intervention in the UK.”