Council to consider children’s centre review

Residents could be asked how they think children’s centre services should be delivered if a proposed review is green-lighted by Derbyshire County Council.

The authority is trying to save £157m by 2018 to meet Coalition Government spending targets.

A report going to the council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (6 May) will propose a review is carried out to look at possible ways of effectively delivering essential services for children and families while making a saving of £1.1m.

The authority first opened a children’s centre in the county 14 years ago and currently runs 54 centres at a cost of £8 million a year.

They offer a variety of services which includes early education and childcare, health services, and parenting and family support.

The report outlines five possible options:

* charging parents for using children’s centres

* charging organisations for using the buildings

* reducing staffing levels

* closing some centres

* only offering services which are not already available elsewhere through the voluntary, community and independent sector.

If the Cabinet gives the go-ahead a five week review would take place from Monday 12 May to Tuesday 17 June.

This would give residents the chance to say what they think of centres and:

* how easy they are to get to

* what other services are offered in the local area

* opening times and availability of services

* how well services are provided to children and families most in need.

Feedback from the review would be used for a follow-up Cabinet report in the autumn.

If any centres are earmarked for possible closure a further three-month consultation would take place before a recommendation was made to Cabinet.

Councillor Kevin Gillott, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “We are faced with making devastating cuts to our services which we don’t want to make.

“We’re doing our best to protect services and jobs but the reality is that the huge reduction in our budget – which equates to cutting our spending on Derbyshire families by a third – means there’ll be a significant and detrimental impact on local people.


“At a time when so many families are struggling the last thing we want to do is reduce what our children’s centre offer but we’re having to consider all our options and it’s a very sad situation.”