Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have welcomed a call for a “radical” cross-party consensus to tackle cycles of deprivation and crime through a shift towards early intervention.
In a co-authored report released yesterday, former Labour government whip Graham Allen and ex-Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith warned that successive governments over three decades had failed to deal with increasing levels of violence and social disorder.
The report, endorsed by all three party leaders, championed a range of schemes targeted at children aged nought to three living in the UK’s most deprived areas. This should be backed by support for children and young people from nought to 18 to prepare them for parenting, the report said.
Unite around early intervention
Duncan Smith and Allen said: “We are calling on all parties to unite around early intervention. We are convinced it is cheaper and more sensible to tackle social problems before they begin, rather than spend ever-greater sums on ineffective remedial policies, whether they take the form of more prisons, police, drug rehabilitation or supporting larger and more costly lifetimes on benefits.”
Specific programmes proposed included prenatal support for parents, postnatal services, such as the government’s family nurse partnership programme, Sure Start children’s centres, programmes for primary school-age children and their parents and pre-parenting support for secondary school children.
The report called for all political parties to support early intervention as a major theme in the next comprehensive spending review, which will set political and spending priorities for 2011-14. The government was also urged to establish an early intervention network across the country and require that every local authority or local strategic partnership produce an “early intervention vision”.
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