Consultation on services for under fives gets go ahead
Four children's centres to close
Hounslow Council’s Cabinet has agreed to launch a 90 day consultation on the services the council provides for children under five years old.
The council proposes redesigning how it delivers services to under fives and their families.
This involves grouping together children’s centres to provide services in local areas based on levels of need and working with partners to deliver services in a variety of places across the borough including libraries, leisure centres and community centres.
Government funding to all local authorities is being reduced. As part of the £60m savings that Hounslow Council has to make by 2019, £1.76m of this needs to come from changing how some of the borough's children’s centres are used.
The council wants to deliver a targeted service to vulnerable families, with the proposed changes providing up to an additional 156 free childcare places for disadvantaged two year olds in the most deprived areas, an increase of 10 per cent on current levels.
Parents and carers will be supported to find out about all the services on offer for under fives in the borough, and how to access them, including those provided by leisure, health, community and voluntary organisations as well as the council.
Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services at Hounslow Council, said:
“We know that the first five years of a child’s life are of critical importance to their long term life chances. We want to do all we can to make sure that every child in our borough gets the best possible start in life.
“By providing the right services in the right place for families who need them most, our intention is that all children will be ready for school by five, will be healthy, and able to play and develop in a safe environment.
“For parents and carers, we’ll be supporting them to find out about everything which is on offer for under fives and how to easily access services.”
The consultation will open on Monday 20 July and run until Saturday 17 October. All centre users will be invited to take part in the consultation by filling in questionnaires, attending focus groups and meetings. There will be individual focus groups for users of each centre where they can share their views.
From the current 18 children’s centre sites it is proposed that 14 will continue to deliver services to the under fives.
In developing this proposal, other models were also investigated but this is the only one which met all the necessary criteria and therefore is the only feasible option to consult on.
Full details of the report are available at Cabinet Meeting Agenda, item 3
July 16, 2015