Views sought over changes to services for families and young people

Published Wednesday, 11th April 2018

Children, young people and families are being asked to share their views about the proposed changes to the way the early help, youth services and family engagement services are delivered.

The Council has agreed to consult on a range of proposals to further develop its early help offer. The public consultation runs for 60 days until Thursday, 7th June.

Since the launch of the early help offer in January 2016, the Council has saved £1.2m by bringing together previously separate services into locality based teams across the borough.

The offer now includes children’s centres, youth provision, family support services, education welfare, youth offending services and evidence based programmes such as parenting and sleep tight. Leaders have pledged to focus the Council’s limited resources on services for children, young people and families and ensuring they remain accessible to those who need them most.

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council, said: “It is really important to hear everyone’s views on this before any decisions are taken.

“We want to ensure the services we deliver are the best they can be. I want to reassure people that the level of provision in the borough will not be significantly reduced by the proposals, as the savings we need to make will come mostly from reducing the cost of management and running buildings.

“People will be able to access services at sites they already use in the community or through street based youth activities. This is what young people and families have told us they want and is something we have already successfully trialled in some areas, so we know it works. Similarly we will continue to offer children, young people and families access to services within their neighbourhoods in different venues and community spaces that they have told us they prefer to use.

“If we are going to continue to be effective, then we need to be out there in the community, ensuring that services are where people need them the most and not tied to delivering services from Council owned buildings.”

The Council is now looking to make further changes to these services; these include the development of 0-19 Family Hubs which will provide services, advice and support for children and families from birth through to 19 (and up to 25 for those with a special educational need or disability). This will make the most of the buildings and spaces used and will ensure that the right services are offered at the right time and in the right place.

The proposals include; reducing the number of registered children’s centres from 12 to nine and the number of youth centres from 11 to six. The children’s centres under consideration are: Park View, Broom Valley and Wath Victoria and the youth centres are Herringthorpe, Treeton, Kiveton, Maltby Linx and Swinton. However, in all cases services would continue to be provided close by, and in some instances from the same site but for fewer hours each week.

As part of these plans the Council is proposing that early help services will run from the remaining children’s centres and youth buildings which will become “family hubs”, relocating some services to other nearby buildings and making better use of community venues and spaces to deliver some services. Family support services will be offered borough-wide and from family hubs.

The plans focus on a reduction in buildings to allow funding to be used on employing frontline staff and maintaining services for children, young people and families, which is a key priority.

To take part in the consultation please visit www.rotherham.gov.uk/consultations