Big Lottery Fund welcomes early action report
Last week, the Public Accounts Committee published their review into the case for shifting government spending to Early Action. This review was something which the Big Lottery Fund, as members of the Early Action Task Force, have been calling for, and we are delighted to see the recommendations which the Committee reached. In this guest blog, England Director Dharmendra Kanani explains why Early Action is so important to our work as a funder.
I strongly welcome the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report published last week in support of Early Action. The report calls for an imaginative response “to the challenge and opportunity of early action and to adopt an integrated, long term, preventative approach to public spending for the benefit of society as a whole.”
This report reflects our own commitment to the Prevention agenda. Two years ago, the Early Action Task Force, a group of experts which we are a funder and founder member of, called for the Public Accounts Committee to carry out this review in the Triple Dividend report (PDF).
Of course there is a need for attention to be given to the immediate needs of vulnerable people, whether that be children damaged by poor upbringings, teenage suicides or tragic cases of elderly people being forgotten and neglected, but how much better would it be if we could address the causes of these problems at an earlier stage?
Our traditional funding programmes, through which we award funding for projects run by community groups and charities to help communities and those in need, remain important. In 2013-14, we expect to hand out over £250 million through these open programmes. But we are also breaking new ground by making long-term investments in new ways to deliver services which support Early Action across England. We are investing over £500 million to tackle some of the most stubborn social problems in the country.
Through our portfolio of funding in England we will aim to improve the outcomes for about 10,000 of the most vulnerable babies and families, supporting them to lead fulfilling lives through our ‘A Better Start’ programme.
Too many young people struggle to find employment. In response we are investing £100 million to support young people into work through our Talent Match programme.
We are committing £100 million to supporting people with multiple and complex needs to become an asset to society rather than a pull on the public purse.
And we are investing £120 million for our ageing population through our Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better initiative to help them to keep contributing to society rather than feel like a burden.
I would again commend this report from the PAC and strongly welcome its arrival. We must continue to focus on early intervention if we are ever going to break cycles of need and find a way to support people to lead strong, fulfilling lives.
Dharmendra Kanani is England Director, Big Lottery Fund