03 November 2011

The next steps towards a radical new direction for the huge range of ‘prevention services’ have been unveiled with a report showing the potential new shape of services in the county.

Northamptonshire County Council launched a consultation in July to get views on how to transform the £44m worth of services which focus on preventing problems arising in people’s and community’s lives or stop current issues deteriorating further.

Services which have been consulted on include: housing support services, drug and alcohol services, services supporting victims of interpersonal violence, advice services, youth services, the Connexions services.

Now a draft strategy has been published based on this consultation showing how services could be redesigned into local ‘hubs’ giving people just one point of entry to a full range of services they may need with far more seamless working among organisations delivering them.

And with huge reductions in government funding and growing demands on services this new model would see it easier for people to help themselves and ultimately less reliant on more specialist and expensive services while the services still required would become more streamlined and more focused on areas of most need.

And with the council needing to save £100m over the next four years the new report also proposes for consultation new savings worth up to £4m across a range of contracts it has for such services as it looks to move towards the new model.

Cabinet member for community services David Mackintosh said: “We have consulted extensively with people who use these services and what they are telling us is very clear. They wanted to be able to access a lot of the prevention services they receive through one point of contact so they didn’t have to keep giving information to large numbers of different people. They have told us they want organisations to stop duplication and work closer together.

“We also heard back from 200 organisations which help deliver these services and they too saw this local based approach as an opportunity to get the most out of funding while also improving services for customers.

“Such feedback has been central to our work in helping us work together to find a better and more targeted way of providing prevention services and also ways to use our universal services such as schools, libraries and schools to reduce the number of people going on to require more expensive specialist services.

“However we are also of course well aware that any changes to the way these services are provided are going to be unsettling especially on those areas where we are proposing to reduce or remove funding. That is why we are now looking to go into a second stage of consultation to get further views on the overall direction of the services and also on those changes to funding these proposals outline.”

The paper will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on Tuesday November 8 and if agreed consultation will take place on the draft strategy and proposed funding reduction until February 8.

A further cabinet paper will be presented to the Council’s May and it is expected that the final set of services will be agreed by October 2012 ready for implementation in 2013.