The future of children’s centres in Cambridgeshire will be a landmark debate after it received one of the biggest public response ever seen across England
PUBLISHED: 16:29 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:29 10 October 2017
The most people to ever give their views for a county council debate will make it a landmark discussion when Cambridgeshire tries to find solutions for the future of its children’s centre services amid tight budget constraints.
A total of 2,280 people gave their views making it the largest response to a county council consultation and one of the largest for a children’s centre consultation across the country.
A spokesman said that feedback from families will be added to the debate at Cambridgeshire County Council on Tuesday October 17.
County councillor Simon Bywater, chairman of the children’s committee, said: “We have listened to local people as part of this consultation and this is we why we are proposing to invest a further £100,000 in our outreach services so we have a flexible, targeted and responsive service.
“It’s great to see people backing our overall ambitions, but we also recognise at a district level that local people have concerns regarding what might be happening locally to them.
“Part of this may be that it is hard for some to see what the new service will look like when it is not tied to a building, but I would like to reassure those who use these services that we will looking at all the suggestions to see what we can do.
“There are strong views on both sides, so it is important to me to make sure we have a full debate about the future of these services at full council and that democracy takes place.
“We believe in these plans and we think they can improve children’s centre services, especially those who really need them.”
A spokesman said: “The council remains heavily committed to early intervention for families, believing it is essential for families to get the right help at the right time and in the right place.”
The new service is intended to be embedded alongside district early help teams, health and other community services providing what they say is a “flexible, targeted and responsive service in order to meet the needs of a rapidly changing county.”
A county council spokesman added: “It is being proposed that more outreach services should be sited in areas across the county.
“This change will see £100,000 re-invested in the service. This means reducing the proposed savings from £1 million to £900,000.
“If these savings are achieved the budget for the new child and family centre services will be more than £4.3million and sit alongside the early help services of the council, which has an additional budget of £7.2 million.”
A spokesman said this would mean more money going into “frontline” work.