Consultation (closed)

The proposals

The Children’s centre services consultation is now closed.

All responses will now be considered and used to inform Devon County Council’s decision making process. When the final proposals on the countywide model are available they will be published on this website.

Why are we doing this?

We have wanted to review how Children’s Centre Services are delivered, to make them more flexible, efficient and effective.  This is the first time we can do this, as our current contracts are coming to an end.  We want our Children’s Centre Services to use more of the money we have available to directly support young children and families, rather than spend the money on administration costs and maintaining lots of buildings.

As well as this, Devon’s budget for Children’s Centre Services is getting smaller.  Over the last five years it is been reduced by about £1.5 million (15%), meaning in total we now spend around £8.6 million.  In the next three years this £8.6 million is due to get smaller again.  The budget for Children’s Centre Services will need to reduce by a further 15% (£1.2 million).

Our principles

Even with change, Children’s Centre Services in Devon will continue to stand by our principles. These are to:

  • Continue to improve the lives of young children and their families
  • Remain accessible to families in greatest need within their own community
  • Make sure the money is spent on supporting families in greatest need and those living in rural areas
  • Keep a service which is open to all (delivered in partnership with Health), as well as targeted services to the most vulnerable families
  • Give families more flexibility by offering services in different areas
  • Continue to work in partnership with Health, Adult Learning and Job Centre Plus
  • Support the Early Help offer and continue to work with families identified through the Targeted Families Programme
  • Make sure money is spent on services for young children and families, rather than on buildings and other County Council responsibilities.

We have considered a number of ideas to change the way things are done now.

Our proposals

  • Spend the money we have on services for young children and families, rather than on so many buildings
  • Change the Children’s Centre areas.  Moving from areas based around school learning communities to areas based on district / city council areas.  Diagrams showing this change are available in Appendix A
  • Change the number of Children’s Centre buildings we have.  We would look to:
    • Keep Children’s Centre buildings in the most deprived areas, where there is the greatest need
    • Keep some other buildings as linked sites to make sure families can access services across Devon
    • Transfer some buildings for use by other Early Childhood services like pre-schools or health services.
  • Increase the number of Children’s Centre Services provided from other places in the community.  This might include other Devon County Council buildings, other community buildings or services provided directly in family homes
  • Provide a flexible service which meets the needs of families in the local area.  To achieve this we would look at: the centre opening times, what services are being offered to everyone and who provides those services
  • Look at who else could use Children’s Centres to deliver their services to the local community.

What might this mean?

  • There will still be services that all families can access.  Some services may continue to be provided by Children’s Centres, others may be provided by someone else with support from Children’s Centres. The times these services are available may change
  • Families experiencing difficulties will still receive support, advice and guidance from Children’s Centres Services
  • Where you go to access Children’s Centre Services may change, but this could become more flexible
  • There may be a change in who provides the Children’s Centres Services in your area
  • You may be able to access lots of different services for the family from one building.

Download the full consultation document for more information.

This consultation closed on Friday 6 June 2014.