Reshaping Services for Children and Families (0-5 Redesign of Children Centres)

Closed 11 Sep 2017

Opened 29 Jun 2017

Feedback Updated 6 Feb 2018

We Asked

Warwickshire County Council held a public consultation for eleven weeks June to September 2017 asking people to comments on proposal to redesign how services for children and families are delivered from Warwickshire in the future. 

The County Council’s budget for 0-5 services, currently delivered through Children’s Centres, has been reduced to £3.7 million a year. This, along with recognition of the changing ways people access services, required a rethink about how services are delivered to maximise help for families, increase variety of support available and reduce building maintenance costs.

The consultation proposed developing 12 Family Hubs across Warwickshire delivering services to a wider age range, up to 19 or 25 for those with special educational needs and disabilities. Expressions of interest from the community were invited about how to use the remaining centres and people were asked to share ideas about how other local venues may be used and possible outreach/spoke sites. 

You Said

1558 people provided their opinions on the proposal via the survey (of which 153 completed it on paper).  Council representatives spoke to over 300 people at public events and over 400 people at face to face opportunities including drop-ins and meetings.  Over 150 written submissions were sent and more than 7000 people signed petitions.

Key themes included:

Service provision and impact – implications of maintaining current service offer, the importance of local family support, impact on mental wellbeing and reducing social isolation, proposed change to age range, professional staff appropriately supporting volunteers, additional burden/impact on other services, sufficiency of nursery provision and school readiness.  We listened and prioritised family support, allowed a transitional period of 18 months for the changes, confirmed a commitment to focus on the first 1001 days and early years, and included volunteer coordination roles.

Service users and access – understanding needs, rural access to services, online support is not always appropriate, relationship building, first point of contact to report difficulties, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) support and language barrier for services.  We listened and increased the number of Children and Family Centres to 14, with 2 additional ones located in the most rural district, Stratford, and confirmed an outreach model to help deliver services locally.

Location and type of building – Riversley Park in Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough was preferred as a Hub site to Abbey, Kingsway in Warwick District was preferred as a Hub site to Sydenham, Long Lawford in Rugby Borough was preferred to Oakfield.  Kenilworth, Shipston and Southam residents reported high level perinatal mental health support needs which indicated a transitional period may be necessary. Transport access barriers, alternative uses for non-Family Hub Children’s Centres, housing and population increases, safety standards of buildings, voluntary groups’ access to venues, safe space for services and disabled access.   We listened and substituted the sites as suggested by respondents and included a transitional year to support those with perinatal mental health support needs in the three identified areas.

General comments were also made questioning whether the cuts need to be made.

We Did

On 9 November 2017, Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet voted to support the proposal as set out in the Cabinet papers – see here for full details.  On 29 November, an extraordinary meeting of the full Council considered a motion to delay the budget reduction, which was not passed.  Savings will be made from April 2018 onwards.

Proposal Decision? Rationale
Prioritisation of Family Support We propose to protect this service from reduction due to the high priority that families placed on this service during the consultation. The value of volunteers was also expressed but the point was made strongly that they cannot replace trained, skilled, professional family support staff.
Replace 'Family Hub' terminology with 'Children and Family Centres' The consultation revealed some confusion over the terminology of 'hubs' given that it was being used by a number of agencies in different contexts. The name 'Children and Family Centres' links with the current provision, which will be used as the basis for a wider age range and service offer.
Increase the number of proposed Children and Family Centres from 12 to 14 During the consultation, we heard about issues of access and rurality in Stratford District and those who responded to the consultation were against a single Centre in the east of the District (Alcester). As a result, we propose 2 additional Centres at Stratford and Lighthorne Heath, which allow access to a central and a west district centre. This is supported by evidence of need in terms of number of children in need and on Child Protection Plans and the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI)
Substitution of Centres in Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby and Warwick borough/ districts As a result of the consultation, we have revised the proposals as follows:
  Riversley Park Clinic as a preference to Abbey, particularly in relation to Special Education Needs and Disability provision
  Long Lawford in preference to Oakfield, because of rural needs and planned housing growth.
  Kingsway in preference to Sydenham, due to suitability for Children and Family Centre purposes, area of need and potential for alternative community outreach sites in Sydenham.
Transitional year for Badger Valley, Kenilworth (St John's) and Southam We recognise the large number of responses received from these areas and so we propose a transitional year. This will allow for additional work to be carried out to look at alternative options for buildings and services to address issues identified during the consultation. The consultation highlighted needs in these areas, in particular social isolation, peer/support networks and perinatal mental health. A transitional year means those facing these challenges will be able to receive appropriate support over a longer time period whilst we look at alternative options.
Confirmation of Outreach Model The reduced number of Centres means more outreach and delivery at alternative places. During the consultation we saw that outreach is already going on and we can develop this model. Also, we have received enough expressions of interest during the consultation period to make us think that there a number organisations would might like to assume responsibility for those Children Centres which, as outreach centres, could deliver Children and Family Centre services directly and/or allow access to the County Council and its partners to the Centre to provide services. We heard throughout the consultation that there is a need for services to be delivered locally when thinking about access to services, financial inclusion and a peer/support network.
Focus on 1001 days and Early Years The Smart Start, 'Reimagining our Children Centres' work and this consultation have all told us how important it is to focus on the first 1001 days. Early years 'Stay and Play' was not part of the original proposal but we have included it in the delivery model. This is as a result of consultation responses who said it was a non-stigmatising way to start accessing support services.
Transitional Approach to Making the Changes Suggestions made by Barnardos and the Parenting Project offer a helpful and co-operative way to carry out the proposals. Making the changes in phases helps make sure service users and partners are included during the design of the Children and Family Centres and the outreach centres to agree how we can deliver a whole family approach. This also shows we are committed to those who expressed concern during the consultation that their support will not be suddenly withdrawn.
Volunteer Support & Co-ordination The new model relies on building community support through peer groups and volunteering. We need to make sure that volunteers are recruited and supervised so that safeguarding is strengthened in the new proposal. The existing volunteer model was mentioned during the consultation as one which provides support to volunteers to help them to support families.

 

Results Updated 8 Jan 2018

The council has now made a decision about the future of services for children and families. 
 
In a meeting on 9 November Cabinet voted in favour of proposals to offer services at 14 children and family centres with local community outreach opportunities.
 
It also accepted proposals to increase the age range of family support from 0-5 years, up to 19 years (25 with disabilities). 
 
Following a period of transition with current children’s centre providers, it is expected that the new model will implemented by 1 October 2019.
 
The council offer thanks to everyone who participated in the public consultation from June-September 2017.

For more information please read the full Cabinet Report here. This includes copies of Consultation Reports on feedback given during the consultation.

Overview

Warwickshire County Council is proposing new ways to offer services and support to children and their families, and in particular children under 5.

If you use, or have an interest in these services, we want to know what you think of our ideas and invite you to take part in our public consultation.

This video provides further background.

 

 

Why We Are Consulting

Children are at the heart of everything Warwickshire County Council does and it wants to make sure all children in the county have the best possible start in life. It is committed to working with families, services and communities, directing people toward easy to access support based on need in order to keep all its children safe, healthy and happy.

In order to do this and meet the requirements of an incredibly challenging savings programme, it is essential that the council looks very carefully at the services that it provides to review how effective they are and seek to find innovative and more efficient ways to get results and keep people safe, healthy and independent for the future.

The council is proposing changes to how services are provided to local children and their families by remodelling its children’s centres and considering different ways to make sure families who use them get the right support for the right issues at the right time.

There are 39 children’s centres in Warwickshire, which operate in groups to offer a mix of services at different locations. Consultation proposals seek views on converting 12 of these centres in to new family hubs. These hubs will be a place where children and families can access a range of services for 0-19 year olds (up to 25 years for children with disabilities). The family hubs would be spread throughout Warwickshire where there is the greatest identified need for family support.

It is proposed that family hubs will be located in the following areas:

  •  North Warwickshire Borough: Retain Atherstone as Family Hub.  Centres subject to reassessment including alternative options and potential closure: Coleshill, Kingsbury,and Polesworth
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough: Retain Camp Hill, St Michael’s, Stockingford and Abbey as Family Hubs. Centres subject to reassessment including alternative options and potential closure: Bulkington, Ladybrook, Park Lane, Rainbow, Riversley
  • Rugby Borough: Retain Boughton Leigh, Claremont and Oakfield as Family Hubs.  Centres subject to reassessment including alternative options and potential closure: Cawston and Dunchurch, Hillmorton, Long Lawford, Newbold, Wolston
  • Stratford District: Retain Alcester as Family Hub.  Centres subject to reassessment including alternative options and potential closure: Badger Valley (Shipston), Clopton, Lighthorne Heath, Southam, Stratford, Studley and Wellies (Wellsbourne)
  •  Warwick District: Retain Lillington, Sydenham and Westgate.  Centres subject to reassessment including alternative options and potential closure: Kenilworth, Kingsway, Newburgh, St Johns, Warwick, Whitnash

This does not mean that Children’s Centres that are not evolving into family hubs will immediately cease to exist, Warwickshire County Council will explore any opportunities within the local community and local providers to continue to offer services at the remaining centres. In doing this, it will have to consider the reduced resources available and the future suitability of each centre based on access, location and whether there are alternative community-based venues nearby. The aim is to help communities thrive with services which fit the needs of those living there.

More detailed information is available in the consultation document.

How to take part

To share your views complete the consultation questionnaire.  

Whilst it can be accessed on any device, including mobile phones and tablets, people have told us it is easier to complete on a computer with a keyboard, such as a laptop, if you want to write detailed responses to questions.  Please allow plenty of time to complete this questionnaire because it may take 30 minutes or more. Once you have started, if you do not click to the next screen after 30 minutes the survey will time out and you will not be able to go back to where you left off. Your time is appreciated – every survey that is completed matters and will help the council to understand everyone’s views.

If you have a paper copy of the questionnaire, please post it back to us in the no stamp required envelope provided.  If you do not have an envelope, completed questionnaires can be handed in to any Warwickshire County Council library across Warwickshire.

The consultation information is also available in alternative formats, please email familyhubs@warwickshire.gov.uk or phone 01926 742350.  If your first language is not English you can email us your consultation response in your native language.

Events

As of 25th August, please click here for the schedule of events being held across Warwickshire.  There are 12 public consultation events and many informal drop in sessions at Children’s Centres.  There will also be visits by the Portfolio Holder, Councillor Morgan, to some centres which are an opportunity for him to view the facilities and as such are not official consultation events.  If you would like to chat to a member of the 0-5 redesign team please come along to a public consultation event or an informal drop in session.

If you are unable to make a public consultation event the presentation shown can be found here.

What will happen with the information that we gather?

All comments, feedback and information we receive will be used to inform how future 0-5 years services are delivered. You will not, in any way, be identifiable in the survey analysis from your responses and any comments will be anonymous. The findings from the consultation will be presented to Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet, for their approval to commence implementing the recommendations, and then be published. All data will be stored securely and erased within four years.

Please do not provide any additional correspondence to our surveys, as personal information may be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998. If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, including your contact details, please tell us why, but be aware that, under the Freedom of Information Act, we cannot always guarantee confidentiality.

For further information on privacy see www.warwickshire.gov.uk/privacy or contact our Customer Service Centre on 01926 410410.

What Happens Next

This consultation is now closed. 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to give us their views.

We received a significant number of responses to this consultation. In order to provide sufficient time for the Council to carefully consider all responses received, the matter will be considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 9 November. Prior to that, on a date to be arranged in October, the Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee will consider this matter before it is considered by Cabinet.

Areas

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background
  • Service users (current or previous)
  • Carers
  • Parents
  • All Warwickshire residents
  • Community Groups
  • Partners
  • Providers
  • Specialist staff
  • Professionals and professional bodies

Interests

  • Children and families