Council proposes closing all children's centres to save £600k

By Neil Puffett

| 04 December 2015

A council is preparing to close its remaining children's centres in order to save money in 2016/17.

The report says the closure of Swindon’s remaining children’s centres could impact on groups including lone families and teenage parents. Picture: Guzelian

A report set to go before Swindon Council's cabinet on Wednesday (9 December) proposes the closure of five children's centres in the town in order to save £600k.

The council said it will utilise the buildings for childcare and wider community-based services and will create a new family support service.

The proposals come less than a year after seven children's centres in the town closed as part of savings for the current financial year 2015/16.

The report containing the latest proposal states that there has been "no obvious impact" as a result of those seven closures.

"It is reasonable to conclude that since the closure of children centres in March 2015, referral rates for children under five years’ old have stayed in line with overall referral rates suggesting there has been no obvious impact from the closures," the report states.

However, the report does highlight a potential impact on some groups.

"There is a potential impact on lone families, teenage parents and same-sex partnerships with children who are not defined within the cohort of the most vulnerable and therefore not eligible for the highly targeted support," it states.

"These groups will be supported by health visitors depending on their needs."

The Department for Education is currently holding a review into children's centres.

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