The Early Years Change Fund was established in 2011 as a partnership of the Scottish Government, local government and the NHS. Its task is to take forward a significant change programme to help deliver the joint commitment to prioritising the early years of children's lives and to embed early intervention and prevention. Across the three years of the Early Years Change Fund from 2012-2015, the Scottish Government has committed £44 million; the NHS has committed £117 million and local government £105 million. The Scottish Government also contributed £8.5 million in 2015-16 to support the transition year, but this funding is not applicable to this report which captures activity from 2012-13 to 2014-15.
The overarching objective of the Early Years Change programme has been to put into place practical actions that meet with the principles set out in the Early Years Framework ( EYF) so that intervention is proportionate and timely and offers consistent and co-ordinated support.
Each year since the start of the Early Years Change Fund, CPPs have provided the Scottish Government with a yearly return on their Early Years Change Fund activities. Returns for 2012-13 and 2013-14 are available on the Scottish Government website, as are summary reports for each year. The most recent returns for 2014-15 are also available on the Scottish Government website.
In February 2016, the Scottish Government commissioned research to assess the impact of the Early Years Change Fund, as reported by CPPs through their Early Years Change Fund returns across the three years. This research will help the Scottish Government understand the impact of the Change Fund on a national basis and use this information to consider how to sustain any shift to prioritising prevention and early intervention.
The overall aim of the research is to summarise the impact of the Early Years Change Fund, as recorded by CPPs in their Change Fund returns each year. Specific objectives for the research are to:
- Fully understand how CPPs have prioritised the early years at the local level.
- Calculate the total resources spent on the Early Years Change Fund for each programme line of spend and to summarise the outcomes reported by CPPs.
- Identify what the local priorities have been for CPPs over the lifetime of the Change Fund.
- Summarise the examples of prevention and disinvestment provided by CPPs.
- Highlight the successes and lessons learned by CPPs.
- Understand the governance arrangements in place at the CPP level around the early years.
Researchers were provided with CPP returns from 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15, the summary reports produced in 2013 and 2014 and responses to queries supplied by CPPs to the Early Years Change and Improvement Team. Each return was read individually, then the three reports from each of the 32 CPPs were examined together to look for changes across time, direction of travel and reasons for change.
Once details of the activity and spend in each CPP had been categorised and summarised, the researchers looked at this information across all CPPs to look for commonalities and differences, trends and examples of good practice.
In each of the three years, the CPPs provided information on detail and spend based on the way in which they record and report on their early years activities. While the return forms aimed to capture consistent information, because systems differ across the CPPs there are differences in what has been reported. Some CPPs provided lengthy and detailed reports while others provided more summarised information. Similarly in relation to spend, the level of detail CPPs were able to include varied. The Early Years Change and Improvement Team endeavoured to collect any additional information required to complete or clarify the picture of activity and spend. However, there are some limitations in the amount and detail of information collected.
Information from 2012/13 was the least detailed and the return template for 2013/14 was amended in light of recommendations from the 2012/13 summary report. The 2013/14 and 2014/15 return forms aimed to capture data on wider spend, to give more accuracy in terms of overall spend and to collect examples of preventative spending and disinvestment.
This report has been compiled using the returns provided by each CPP in each of the years, the summary reports produced on the 2012/13 and 2013/14 returns and the responses to queries collected by the Early Years Change and Improvement Team. However, the details and figures cannot be verified for accuracy and the figures used should be regarded as indicative.
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