07 July 2011

A massive consultation to help create a new, radical direction a huge range of services known as ‘prevention services’ is being launched this week.

Northamptonshire County Council currently spends £44m on services delivered by hundreds of organisations across the county which focus on preventing problems arising in people’s and community’s lives or stop current issues deteriorating further.

With ever increasing demands on services and with huge reductions in government funding, the council is launching this consultation to help find a way to help more people help themselves and ultimately become less reliant on more specialist services.

Services in scope of this consultation include drug and alcohol services, services supporting victims of interpersonal violence, advice services, youth services, the Connexions service, study support centres, children’s centres and support for housing, parents, older people, people with physical disabilities and carers,

Cabinet member for community services Cllr David Mackintosh said: “Prevention is certainly not a new concept for the council. We already have a wealth of experience of delivering with partners such services for adults, children, families and communities.

“We believe however that we can provide more co-ordinated and community based prevention services which could help improve quality of life for those in need of help and ultimately prevent them needing more specialist and expensive services.

“The consultation we are launching concentrates on how we can deliver these services in a way which helps people help themselves to find solutions to problems or prevent those problems developing in the first place. If we get this right this will not only will improve people’s quality of life but we will also reduce the number of people eventually needing more specialist and expensive services.”

The consultation will be launched at a special conference being held at Kettering Conference Centre on Thursday, July 7 where an audience of representatives from some of the 800 organisations providing such services across the county will be presented with a consultation document outlining the key questions being asked.

Cllr Mackintosh said: “There are three main types of services we currently provide. There are universal services available to all such as schools, libraries and children’s centres. Then there are prevention services which are targeted at those with specific needs at an early stage. Then there are specialist services which are those designed to meet very specific and complex needs.

“What we are looking to do through this consultation is look at what better way could we provide universal and prevention services to reduce the number of people ultimately requiring the specialist services.”

The consultation will run until September 30. Throughout this time special events are taking place with people who use these services at locations across the county to ensure as many of them as possible are able to have their say about the new model of services.

The issues are also being discussed by scrutiny committees at the council while a special webpage has been set up on the council’s website to give people more information and allow people to have their say that way.

Following the consultation the council will the publish its new model for delivering such services. During the summer the council will be developing a new formula for distributing the available funds based on those needs being identified to allow for a full implementation by the end of this year.