06 December 2016

A review of targeted early help services offered through Northamptonshire’s children’s centres is due to be discussed by Northamptonshire County Council’s Cabinet next week (Tuesday).

Earlier this year, the council agreed a new service delivery model which could see some children’s services brought in-house in order to lower commissioning costs as part of the transition into a standalone children’s trust.

Streamline services

Next week’s Cabinet meeting will discuss the proposed targeted early help review, which will look at ways of streamlining services.

Over 1,000 families are currently accessing targeted children’s centre activity in the county, of which more than half are already being supported by the council through other services. Therefore, the review of children’s centres will look at how the council can reduce potential duplication and deliver better value for money.

Action for Children and Spurgeons, who were delivering targeted children’s centre services for the council across Northamptonshire, will not have their contracts renewed in March.

Children’s centre services in Corby will stay in place during the period of the review as the current arrangements by a local consortium may have a good fit with the council’s proposed future model.

Universal children’s centre services currently delivered through libraries will not be affected by the review.

Public consultation

Cabinet will be asked next week to agree to consult on the proposed review to give families and other stakeholders the opportunity to provide their feedback on future services.

County council cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Matthew Golby said: “At present, it is often the case that families have a number of professionals offering support and at a time when our budgets are under increasing pressure, we have to be sure we are providing value-for-money services.

“We are committed to supporting families and we will continue to do this through existing services including focused family interventions.

“It is also important to note that universal children’s centre services such as Rhyme-time, messy play and baby massage, which are delivered through libraries, are unaffected.”

The review of children’s centre services is expected to deliver a £4.5 million saving.

Next steps

More detailed proposals about future children’s centre services will be brought back to Cabinet after the consultation has ended in February.