Agenda item

Update on 21st Century Children's Centres Service


Andrea Winstone presented members with an update on the Review of the Children’s Centre Service that came to Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December 2016. Over a difficult period, it had been commissioned in December 2016 that five children centres would be retained and that four would close. The Public consultation had finished in December and the Council were given 12 weeks to respond. The consultation was currently with senior managers for sign off and that the staff consultation was due to finish next week.


Rory Patterson stated that the current service was very disjointed and the proposals would bring the services together for a wider age range, have one form of contact with staff working together to create a specific database. A key aspect of this service was working on health matters with the Public Health team.


Andrea Winstone stated that results from the public and staff consultation, public meetings and the professional consultation had been analysed and the services had been changed or remodelled where they could.


The Chair stated that when the report was first presented to Members not sufficient information was given and that Members could not have been able to pre-empt any questions at that time. Andrea Winstone stated that a process had to be followed working alongside Public Health and Social Care.


The Chair requested how much savings had been reduced from undertaking this exercise. Andrea Winstone stated that £400,000 had been saved.


Councillor Redsell asked Officers if the consultation had been undertaken only at the Children Centres or all over Thurrock. Andrea Winstone stated that she was confident that sufficient consultation had been undertaken.


The Chair questioned why the Equality Impact Assessment had not been undertaken at the right time. Andrea Winstone stated that the Equality Impact Assessment had been undertaken as part of the consultation by colleagues. This assessment would require updating and would be presented when finalised.


The Chair asked for confirmation which Children Centres would be closing, Andrea Winstone stated these were centres in Chafford Hundred and East Tilbury. Work was being undertaken with both centres around other suitable locations. It was also noted that Outreach would continue at Chafford Hundred.


The Chair asked for the number of redundancy as a result of these centres closing. Andrea Winstone stated that this would be announced once the process was complete and staff would be advised accordingly. The plans going forward would be to target the greatest need to ensure that the deprived areas got the services needed and that troubled families would continue to work with Outreach.


The Chair asked what the next stages would be. Andrea Winstone stated that the public consultation had been completed on the 4 December with the staff consultation due to finish next week. Modelling of the services based on these consultations will continue for future services and address those needs of locality.


Members were informed that some of the responses received were from residents who never used the Children’s Centres or did not have children at the 0-19 age.


At 9.24pm the Chair requested that standing orders be suspended to provide time to hear and debate the remaining items from members. Members voted in agreement with this.




That the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee Members to note the progress made. The Chair requested that further information should be supplied to Members and requested that this item be added to the work programme for 2017/18.

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