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HMRC internal manual

VAT Government and Public Bodies

HM Revenue & Customs
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Local government partnership programmes: examples: Sure Start

Sure Start is a Department for Education cross-departmental programme. Its aim is:

“To work with parents and children to promote the physical, intellectual and social development of pre-school children - particularly those who are disadvantaged - to ensure they are ready to thrive when they get to school.”

It is intended to promote joined-up and innovative working at local level, looking at need from the perspective of young families It involves better access to family support, advice on nurturing, health services and early learning and is provided through a partnership including local authorities, health practitioners, parents and voluntary and community organisations.

In some cases the Sure Start partners will elect to incorporate their activities by forming a company or charity. This clarifies the VAT position and the accountable body’s services must comply with the appropriate rules. The majority of services provided by Sure Start partnerships will be non-business, so VAT is not chargeable, nor recoverable, unless the contracting partner is a section 33 body (see VATGPB4000).