Committees join forces to examine early intervention

18 Dec 15

Two parliamentary select committees have launched a rare joint-inquiry to scrutinise the government’s life chances strategy and the impact of early years intervention.

The Commons work and pensions and education committees announced yesterday they would look into how government proposes to measure life chances early on and track child poverty by monitoring educational attainment.

Education committee chair Neil Carmichael said that by “joining forces” the committees hope to examine more effectively the work taking place across Whitehall on early years intervention and how it interacts with the benefits system and public services.

Life chances seem to be “largely established in the very early years from the womb onwards”, added Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee. A child’s future attainment and the chance of gainful employment can be predicted when they begin school.

“It is crucial that we understand how to measure and address these factors to give all children the best chances in life,” he said.

The government has said its life chances strategy will use early indicators, such as family breakdown, debt and addiction, and track child poverty by monitoring educational attainment at 16 and the numbers of children living in workless households

The inquiry will examine these proposals and inform the development of the government’s strategy. The committees are inviting evidence on cross-departmental co-ordination on early years interventions and their interplay with the benefits system and public services.

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