§ Margaret Hodge
Grants are allocated to local authorities to support Sure Start initiatives. The Sure Start Unit is continually simplifying funding arrangements. Six separate funding streams for early years and child care have already been brought together in one simplified grant for 2003–04 and the number of ring-fenced funds has been halved. Strategic Guidance issued to local authorities in July 2003 has confirmed that they will have greater flexibility in setting local priorities and use of funding. A new performance management system with a set of streamlined targets will be introduced from April 2004.
Funding for Sure Start local programmes is paid to the organisation nominated by the local partnership as the 'accountable body'. Annual revenue funding is approved by the Sure Start Unit, based on the programme's delivery plan. Capital funding is approved by the Sure Start Unit from submission of capital project plans. Payments for both capital and revenue funding are made on submission of quarterly funding claims.