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Local authorities (LAs) and their partners play a vital role in tackling child poverty by delivering support services to children, young people and their families that help to alleviate the effects of poverty and, in the long term, break inter-generational cycles of deprivation.
Voluntary and community services can also contribute greatly by sharing their expertise and experience of working with families in poverty, and by delivering services to support those families. Similarly, private sector organisations can play an important part by providing effective services for those in most need.
The Child Poverty Act places a duty on local authorities and their partners to cooperate in tackling child poverty. As part of this, they are required to conduct a needs assessment that will help them to understand the true picture of child poverty in their area and the needs of local families who are disadvantaged. They will then be able to use their needs assessments to develop joint child poverty strategies (also a duty as part of the Act) – setting out how their coordinated services will tackle child poverty in their area.
In keeping with the Coalition Government’s localism and decentralisation agenda, statutory guidance and regulations that stipulate how local authorities must meet the duties of the Act have not been published. Instead, a package of practical support has been developed by the CPU in partnership with sector-based organisations. This gives local partners the flexibility to meet their duties in a way that allows them to focus on the needs of their residents.
Sources of specialist support on specific issues and approaches are available to help LAs and their partners develop and deliver their child poverty strategies. These are available on the next page.
Many local partnerships are already doing excellent and innovative work to tackle child poverty, and several have produced resources and examples of good practice to ensure the lessons learnt are shared. These are available from the 'What works' page.
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