Wakefield Council’s Cabinet to discuss services for children

Date: 01/07/2014
Ref: PR 4619

Wakefield Council's Cabinet is to discuss changes to the way children's services are delivered in the district, including approving proposals for consultation on the 'Integrated Early Help Offer.'

The report being discussed by the Council's Cabinet recommends a change in the way that services are delivered, creating seven Integrated Early Help Hubs, so that families can get the support they need at the earliest opportunity.

The Integrated Early Help Hubs, delivered in conjunction with partner agencies, will increase the range of services that families can access in their area so that support is available from pre-birth to 25 years old. This would mean changes to the way services are currently delivered, focusing on a more targeted approach across the district. Some services will still be available for all families, including access to children's centres, but the make-up of these services may change. The proposals would see families having access to a wider range of services within their area – meeting a wider range of needs.

Cllr Olivia Rowley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "We need to be more innovative and creative in the way we deliver services for children and their families across the district. We need to provide the service that families need in the way that families want them.

"This will include looking at the role of children's centres in our Early Help Offer. We spend a significant amount of our budget on the management and administration of these buildings, in addition to overhead costs. Our aim is to redistribute our resources so we can offer a more flexible and accessible service to those that need it most.

"This strengthened and coordinated approach will help us to intervene at the earliest possible opportunity to tackle emerging problems, whether this is in the early years of a child's life, even during pregnancy, or at a later stage in their life."

The introduction of an Early Help Offer will also mean that:
• Services will be targeted at those most in need
• Children's centre services are provided within a locality – delivering services from locations that are accessible and convenient to families, including visited them at home
• Parents and expectant parents will be able to register with any Wakefield children's centre, giving more choice about which centre and services they use.

If the report is approved, a public consultation will be held from July 15 until October. "We urge everyone to have their say on these proposals. A further report will then be considered at a future Cabinet meeting to take into account local feedback and views expressed," added Cllr Rowley.

The plans will see the Council working in partnership with other organisations and communities to ensure that efficient and effective services are provided to meet people's needs. Information sharing will be improved between agencies, improving the outcomes and life chance for the most vulnerable children and young people.

The report is being discussed at the Council's Cabinet meeting on July 8. ​