Council plans to cut children's centres ‘to a minimum'

By Neil Puffett

| 07 March 2016

A council has rubber-stamped plans to cut the number of children's centres it runs "to a minimum", attempting instead to get communities to take on some of the services they provide.

There are currently 12 children’s centres in Telford. Picture: Arlen Connelly

Telford & Wrekin Council said a new operating model for working with vulnerable children, young people and their families will result in a “reduction in the number of, and our input to, children's centres to a minimum”.

There are currently 12 children’s centres in Telford. The council said the new approach will also focus on “building community resilience”.

“We will look for partners or communities to take on the running of some children's centre services/activities,” a council document detailing the cuts reveals.

“Our communities will need to be supported in reducing their dependency on receiving services from the council. Our role will become more enabling, with an emphasis on finding positive role models within communities.”

In total, Telford & Wrekin Council said it needs to make savings of £30m over the next two years having already made savings of £80m since 2010.

Savings to staffing costs as a result of the children's centre proposals will save the local authority £474,000 in 2016/17 and a further £800,000 in 2017/18 – a combined £1.27m.

The council also plans to save £1m in 2017/18 by reducing use of residential care for children with complex needs, and a further £151,000 a year by closing of a number of youth clubs run by part-time youth workers.

Just last month it emerged eight children’s centres in Doncaster, four in Enfield, and 25 in Essex, are at risk as local authorities seek to make savings for the 2016/17 financial year.

The government had said it will launch a consultation on the future of children's centres. It had been due to launch last autumn but has been delayed.

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