Children's Centres Consultation

Closed 6 Mar 2019

Opened 12 Dec 2018

Overview

The Council currently operates 21 Children’s Centres across the borough. There are 8 main hub centres which are open and accessible all day Monday to Friday and 13 smaller centres which are open on an ‘as and when’ basis to allow for certain services and activities to be delivered. The take up rates for Children’s Centre services in Redbridge continues to be high. The most recent access data shows that between August 2017 and August 2018, Redbridge Children’s Centres were used by almost 25,000 young children and their families accessing universal services and a further 18,000 children accessing targeted activities.

Despite significant budget pressures the Council has managed to retain a borough-wide universal service, free at the point of access, for much longer than many other boroughs. 

The budget challenges faced by the Council over the next 3-5 years means that the current model of service provision is unaffordable. In addition, there is a need to further increase in the proportion of take up and access from targeted families in the more disadvantaged areas of the borough.

It would be useful to read the full options document (below) before responding to this consultation.

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Why We Are Consulting

Continued reductions in Government funding for the Council overall, and specifically into the provision of services for under 5s, means that the Council needs to consider re-designing the service offer and structure of Children’s Centres in the future.

The Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy includes a reduction in Council funding of £500k per annum for the Children’s Centre service. Taking into account other budget factors, officers estimate that the Children’s Centres service will face an overall funding shortfall of around £650k, which amounts to 30% of the current budget. The scale of this reduction means that it will not be possible to provide the same level of service on the current funding model.

Despite having a reduced level of financial resources, we want our Children’s Centres to continue to have a positive impact on children and families across the borough, with the fullest possible Children’s Centre offer still being available in Redbridge in the future. We would like your views on our options for continuing to run a high-quality Children’s Centre service with less budget, as well as other ways in which we could make budget savings within the Children’s Centre service.

What Happens Next

Your feedback on this consultation will be reported back to the Council’s Cabinet in March 2019 to help them make a decision about any changes to the Children’s Centre service.  Any changes would be likely to take effect from September 2019.

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Children
  • Young people
  • All residents
  • Parents
  • Community and Voluntary Sector
  • Schools
  • Council staff
  • Early years practitioners

Interests

  • Children and Young People
  • Schools
  • Children's Centres
  • Nurseries
  • Children's Social Work
  • Children in Care
  • Safeguarding
  • Children with disabilities
  • Early Years