London Child Poverty Commission - London Stakeholders Event
Wednesday 13th June 2007
The London Child Poverty Commission stakeholder event was held on 4th May 2007 at the London Councilsí Offices. Voluntary and community organisations, charities, housing, faith, BAME and womenís organisations discussed child poverty and related issues with Commissioners. Carey Oppenheim, Chair of the London Child Poverty Commission, spoke briefly about the work that the commission has already influenced, achievements and future plans. Kate Green chaired the event.
Objectives of the event were:
The stakeholders were invited to discuss:
The following report outlines the outcomes of the roundtable. Please note that these do not necessarily reflect the views of the London Child Poverty Commission or its sponsoring organisations.
The Commission needs to be outspoken in its views how they want London to be portrayed.
Londonís economic powerhouse image can alienate or demoralise some groups who may feel excluded from this success. Londonís transitional population needs to be considered in policy making as people and communities develop and make socio-economic progress. National level public policy must address the unacceptable levels of inequality within London, which are detrimental for the city. Issues raised included:
Funding and Commissioning
Structures and processes at a local level are important and it is important that the correct targets are in place. Funders and commissioners need to take a more sustainable approach to funding. Many projects close due to short term funding and have to be reinvented later.
Local authorities can avoid re-inventing the wheel when commissioning services through learning from voluntary organisations and sharing good practice.
Local authorities need to improve strategic commissioning across borough boundaries and also need to develop better funding strategies.
There is a need for more coherencies in local work/ service provision. Stakeholders felt that there was a lack of coherent work locally. The Commissionís current work with the Association of Director of Children services (London) will look at ways in which children services can link with regeneration officers and housing officers within boroughs.
Support, advice and more
The voluntary sector plays a large part in supporting and advising people who avoid using mainstream services that they find intimidating and out of reach.
Social landlords provide a wide range of services beyond housing, like training and reaching out to excluded communities. Some housing associations offering supplementary core statutory services sometimes do not get enough money to provide the variety and level of services required.
There is great potential for extended schools to offer holistic support to families living in poverty. For example, childcare within London needs to be flexible and accessible and reach the most disadvantaged people. However, under some Local Area Agreements (LAAs) cuts in funding may seriously reduce extended school provision even before they are fully established.
It is vital to recognise the importance of green space within communities, and to acknowledge the potential conflict with London as commercialisation and economic development eat into open spaces. The loss of green space as commercialism grows affects children and so this issue is important in tackling child poverty.
There needs to be investigation into the failure on the ground and what can be done to improve this. The Commission should look at why things are not working on the ground and what can be done to improve this. Case studies could look not only at good practice but where practice is not effective and the reasons why?