Children's Centre Consultation

UPDATE - 17th October 2017

Cambridgeshire County Council Consultation on future provision of Children's Centre services

In July 2017, Cambridgeshire County Council launched a consultation on its proposals for the future delivery of Children's Centre services.

The consultation ran throughout the summer, from 18th July to 22nd September 2017. You can see what the proposals mean for Romsey Mill here.  We also published our formal response to the consultation here

 

On 17th October 2017, Cambridgeshire County Council voted to approve proposals at a full meeting of the Council. 

 

Romsey Mill Statement following the County Council decision to approve the proposals at a full Council meeting (issued 17th October 2017):

Neil Perry, Chief Executive of Romsey Mill said:

"Many, many families and other members of the public right across Cambridgeshire will be deeply disappointed with the decision made at the meeting of the Full Council today, agreeing to proposals to cut a further £900k from existing Children’s Centre services.  31 County Councillors were in favour of the proposals and 22 Councillors voted against them.

A significant majority of families were not supportive of the proposals put forward in the public consultation. It is questionable whether their views were conscientiously taken into account in the final proposals that were brought before County Councillors today.

Romsey Mill supports change that leads to the improvement in outcomes for all children, young people and families and contributes to wider community wellbeing. For over 37 years Romsey Mill has demonstrated compassion, creativity, flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of young people, children and families living in Cambridgeshire.

We wanted County Councillors to understand that our disagreement with the proposals did not come from a position of only being concerned about services that Romsey Mill provides, or an unwillingness to face change positively, as was suggested during the debate.  

However, Romsey Mill thinks that the Council’s decision will not result in improved outcomes for many children and families and will not help to grow resilient and thriving communities. Our view is that the cuts made to Early Intervention services over recent years have contributed significantly to the unprecedented surge in demand for, and escalating cost of, crisis interventions.

We will continue to talk with County Council officers and members, in order to determine how matters will now move forward, particularly with regard to continuing support for families and our Children’s Centre staff roles."

 

 

 

 What the proposals mean for Romsey Mill

The County Council's proposals for the reconfigured service include the closure of Children’s Centre services delivered by Romsey Mill at Romsey Mill Centre and in Cherry Hinton.

Romsey Mill currently has three contracts with the County Council to deliver Children’s Centre services and closely related but distinct Teenage Parents Support Services.

 

Our key concerns:

  • Why was Romsey Mill Centre not being considered as a location for proposed child and family services, when it is an outstanding example of how effective such a community hub could be?
  • The proposals to cut Children's Centre funding by a further £1m (having already cut Children’s Centre funding by £1.55m in the last 3 years) do not support the County Council’s strategy to build resilient communities.
  • The cuts don’t make sound financial sense - as the impact of the cuts will immediately start to impact on other public budgets, including the cost of social care for children.
  • There is a no definition of ‘need’ in the consultation, a lack of information about how services would be delivered in the future and by whom, and no acknowledgment of future population growth.
  • In law, a ‘fair’ consultation should take place when proposals are at a ‘formative stage’, give sufficient reasons for any proposal to allow for consideration and response - and adequate time - we are concerned whether this consultation meets these criteria.