Over the past four years Devon County Council has reduced its spending from £600 million a year to £500 million by cutting waste, reducing management and staff numbers. The latest Government spending review means we now need to save a further £100 million over the next three years. To do this we have to look again at everything we do and make tough choices about a number of services, including Children’s Centre Services.
Even without the financial pressures, we have already seen the need to review how Children’s Centre Services are delivered, to make them more flexible, efficient and effective. As the current contracts are coming to an end, this is our first opportunity to look at how these services should be delivered in the future.
Following an initial 5% reduction, the current contract value of Devon Children’s Centres is £8.6m for 2014/15. This will need to be reduced by a further 15% to £7.3m by 2017.
Statutory guidance (Childcare Act 2006) states that the local authority (Devon County Council) has a duty to;
The Children’s Centre Review will ensure that;
We make sure money is spent on services for young children and families, rather than on buildings and other County Council responsibilities
As part of our consultation we are proposing changes to the way Children’s Centre Services are delivered. These changes will affect the whole of Devon, and include proposals to reduce the number of Children’s Centre buildings we have, but at the same time increase the number of services provided from other places in the community.
Decisions about what will happen to individual Children’s Centre buildings will be made after all consultation feedback has been considered, and the final model for service delivery has been approved by Devon Council County Cabinet. Changes to individual Children’s Centre buildings will then happen as the final model is applied to each area in Devon, as current service contracts are re-commissioned.
Put simply, there will still be Children’s Centre Services that all families can access, but where you go to these services may change. This change will happen over the next three years.
Formal consultation will take place from 22 April 2014 to the 6 June 2014.
The consultation includes:
The consultation is also being publicised by Healthwatch to make sure as many people as possible are aware of the review and can have their say.
You can also send any comments, questions or queries regarding the review to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The consultation ends on the 6 June 2014. After this time all the consultation responses will be collated and considered in full, before a final proposal is made to Devon County Council Cabinet for approval. Following this, the final model for service delivery will be applied to each area when the service is due to be re-commissioned.