This consultation closed on 22 April 2022
2022-26 MTFP budget proposal for Children’s Centres - Have your say
The Council’s budget for 2022-23 includes proposals to reduce the number of Children’s Centres run by the local authority, and introduce a new citywide Early Help offer available in different places in the community.
Public consultation on these proposals runs from 28th February to 22th April 2022, giving service users and third party providers affected by the proposals a chance to have their say, via a combination of online survey and in-person engagement events.
The proposals for the new arrangements have previously gone through a first phase of consultation in late 2021, as part of the 2022-23 Medium Term Financial Plan budget book consultation. However, these plans for Children’s Centres remain proposals and not decisions. This is still a formative stage, and proposals may change as a result of the consultation process.
The Council does not intend to sell any of the Children’s Centres proposed for closure if alternative running arrangements can be agreed, so we are keen to talk to any organisation, school or community group that would like to run a Children’s Centre in our place. This could enable us to use our resources to keep more Children’s Centres open.
Click HERE to download the Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA)
Rationale for Second Phase Consultation on Children’s Centres and the new citywide Early Help offer
What we are proposing and why
The Council’s budget for 2022/23 contains a proposal to reduce the number of Children’s Centres it runs from nine to four centres and introduce a new citywide Early Help offer in those areas affected by the changes. While the Council does not feel able to continue to be the lead organisation running all these centres, it does not want to see any of them close and is looking for new partners to deliver services in venues it can no longer run.
We want to hear and listen to your views about how the budget proposal to reduce the number of Children’s Centres run by the Council would be implemented and are very keen to hear from any other providers who may be able to step in and lead those centres which have been proposed for closure.
- The centres proposed to remain open are: Broxtowe, Hyson Green, Meadows and Southglade (Bestwood/Top Valley)
- The centres proposed for closure, unless another provider can be found, are: Aspley (Amesbury Circus), Aspley (Minver Crescent), Bilborough, Bulwell and Sneinton
The Council’s budget proposals for 2022-26 have been made in response to a number of factors including the continued reduction in central Government funding for the Council, the unmet costs of Covid spending, and the increased demand and cost of statutory services including Children and Adults Social Care services.
The proposals we are putting forward are aimed at protecting as much of the service provision as we can, using the limited resources we have. These include a reduction in the number of Children’s Centres run by the local authority, and the introduction of a new citywide Early Help offer, available in different places in the community, especially in those areas without a local Children’s Centre on their doorstep.
We are keen to talk to any organisation, school or community group that would like to run a Children’s Centre in our place. This could enable us to use our resources to keep more Children’s Centres open. During this consultation we will be talking to potential partners about how they can take on the running of a Children’s Centre. The Council does not intend to sell any of the Children’s Centres proposed for closure if alternative running arrangements can be agreed, so the opportunity is there for someone else to run them in our place.
Consultation so far
Proposals for the new arrangements for Children’s Centres and the new citywide Early Help offer went through a first phase of consultation in late 2021, as part of the 2022-26 Medium Term Financial Plan budget consultation. The initial proposal was for three centres to remain open and six to close, with service provision in the affected areas moved to a new model of mobile team working in communities, known as the citywide Early Help offer. As a result of the first phase consultation process, the proposal has been amended to retain an additional centre, meaning four council operated centres will now remain open. We also received positive feedback from providers and schools about their willingness to take on and run some of the centres proposed for closure.
The second phase consultation on the proposals will run from 28th February to 22nd April 2022, giving parents, carers and providers affected by the proposals a chance to have their say, via a combination of online survey and in-person engagement events. It is important to note that these plans for Children’s Centres remain proposals and not decisions. We are still at a formative stage, and proposals may change as a result of the consultation process.
How did we come to a decision about the proposed centres to keep open and which centres to close?
We have looked very carefully at a number of different factors to come to this difficult decision:
- Making sure our remaining centres offer the greatest level of service provision with a focus on areas of high need where possible.
- Thinking about what we need for the future and making sure our partners, like the Health Service, can deliver their work alongside us.
- Making sure our remaining centres offer the greatest level of service provision with a focus on areas of high need (based on the level of referrals to children’s social care) where possible (Figure 1).
- In order to maximise access and provision, the size and capacity of existing Children’s centres has also had to be considered (including statutory provision of midwifery and heath visitors as part of the Best Start for Life offer with Health partners).
- Thinking about what we need for the future and making sure people like the Health Service can deliver their work alongside us
- Ensuring a high level of the city population can access a centre within 30 minutes via public transport - under this proposed model, 82% can. Likewise, 32% of the city population are within a 20-minute walk of a centre.
- For likely future service users, based on social care referrals, analysis shows that 86% of the population are within 30 minutes via public transport and 43% within a 20-minute walk of a centre
- Analysis of accessibility by ethnicity, based on social care referrals, shows some minor decrease for BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) communities in terms of accessibility via public transport, and an increase for BAME communities in access in terms of walk-in access:
- 87% of White British service users would be able to access a centre within 30 mins via public transport compared to 87% for Asian/Asian British, and 81% Black/Black British and 85% all Non-white British service users overall.
- 41% of White British service users would be within 20-minute walk of a centre compared to 44% for Asian/Asian British, and 44% Black/Black British and 45% all Non-white British service users overall
Figure 1: Areas of High Need (Referrals to Children’s Social Care) (2021)
The citywide Early Help offer
The citywide Early Help offer will be delivered through a hub and spoke model, including face to face sessions delivered both within the remaining Children’s Centres and also in community venues across the city. There will be an increase in delivery of services via virtual media for families who choose to access services this way.
The remaining four Children’s Centres will continue to offer a base for our partners to deliver a range of services for children and families, with a focus on children aged 0-5 years. In addition to services available at Broxtowe, Hyson Green, Meadows and Southglade centres, a new citywide Early Help offer will pick up on the needs of families affected by the closure of a Children’s Centre in their immediate area, and who are unable for any reason to access services at one of the remaining centres.
Universal services available will include midwifery, 0-19 Public Health Nursing service, day care provision and community services, while targeted services will include Early Help, CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services), Parenting, Behavioural and Emotional Health and Healthy Little Minds service. Meanwhile Early Help teams will focus on brief family and child development assessments, and group sessions supporting child development, parenting and healthy relationships. The service will use a blended approach involving both face-to-face and virtual contact, to make sure we are engaging with those unable to access the physical facilities. We will also deliver services from community venues.
We are currently negotiating with education, community and voluntary partners to use different sites across the city, to support families who can’t get to one of our remaining centres, or who can’t access services online. Virtual services will also play a role. We have learnt a lot from the experiences of Covid, and we want to develop our services so that people can access them remotely via online and telephone, to further ensure equity of access.
Have your say
If you represent an organisation, school or other group interested in running a Children’s Centre, in the first instance please contact Julia Bramble at firstname.lastname@example.org
For any other queries about the consultation process please contact email@example.com