A meeting of Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet next week (9 September) will consider proposals to close a Daventry children’s centre and use alternative local venues for services.
A report to be discussed by the cabinet is recommending the closure of Daventry East Children’s Centre amid concerns about the building’s suitability.
Southbrook Community Hub, Daventry Library, The Abbey Centre and Daventry Leisure Centre have been identified as potential alternative venues.
Why are these proposals being considered?
Changes to the way the council wants to provide children’s centre services have highlighted a number of issues relating to the suitability of Daventry East Children’s Centre. The council does not own the building, which was converted from three flats.
Deputy Leader Councillor Heather Smith said: “The backdrop to this discussion about Daventry East Children’s Centre is that we’re in the process of introducing changes to the management and delivery of children’s centre services as part of our improvement programme for child protection services in the county.
“We looked at the services our Children’s Centres provide, we looked at how we could refocus them so that they deliver more targeted services to those families in need of additional support and we recommissioned our contracts on that basis.
“The new contract for children’s centre services in Daventry was awarded to Action for Children. They already had a presence in the Daventry area, including this particular children’s centre, so they have first-hand experience of the building and its limitations.
“They’ve advised us the building is not fit for purpose and they are confident that they can deliver the services required under the terms of the new contract using alternative local venues.”
If cabinet approves the recommendation, the council and Action for Children will work together to draw up more detailed information about how the services would be delivered.
There will be no reduction in early help and targeted services for families in need of early help support.
The cabinet meeting takes place at 2:00pm on Tuesday 9 September at County Hall in Northampton. Meetings are open to the public and can be viewed online on the council’s website.
The recommissioning of children centre services is aimed at providing early help and prevention services to help families and young people as soon as any challenges or difficulties are identified.
This new model of providing services will see children's centre services developed as early help specialists with input from health services, supplemented by the county's libraries.
Libraries will become the default local venue for non-specialist services such as information, advice and general activities for under fives while the children’s centres will focus on targeted support for families in need of extra help and expertise.
The new model was subject to public consultation and its development was approved by the council’s cabinet in October 2013.