Rotherham Council plans for children at the heart of everything it does

Published Friday, 27th May 2016
Fun in the park
Fun in the park

Rotherham is putting its past behind it with plans to ensure children are at the heart of everything it does.

Today the council is releasing its overall vision for Rotherham to be a child-centred borough and for the council to be seen as a benchmark for other local authorities.

The aim is for communities of children, young people and adults as well as councillors to combine their resources to support every child to be the best they can.

The ambition is to change the experiences of children and young people in Rotherham.

Recommendations as to how this could be achieved are to be looked at by Commissioners and Cabinet at a meeting on Monday, June 6th.

Deputy Council Leader Cllr Gordon Watson said: "A child-centred borough means putting children at the heart of everything. It means children can be heard; that we will help them to reach their potential and that we will keep children safe and healthy so we can continue to drive forward improvements.

"We've begun to make many improvements, and in particular in the way we look after our most vulnerable children, but clearly we want to be ambitious for all of Rotherham's children which is why this new strategy puts children at the centre of council activity.

"Every child deserves the best start in life and this vision is about delivering this."

The ambition is that every child will have a good childhood; communities will work together to give every child the best start in life and support will be put in place for the development of the next generation of citizens.

This will be done under six themes:

  • A focus on the rights and voice of the child
  • Keeping children safe and healthy
  • Ensuring children reach their potential
  • An inclusive borough
  • Harnessing the resources of communities
  • A sense of place

As part of implementing its vision, the council is looking to things like the annual Rotherham's Lifestyle Survey to provide insights into the experiences of children and young people living in the borough. They will measure the success of plans to become a child-centred borough by any positive outcomes in subsequent reports.

The Lifestyle survey for 2015, which is attached to the child-centred borough report for Commissioners and Cabinet members, found that there was a greater awareness among young people around child sexual exploitation and youngsters reviewed also said they felt safer in the town centre than they had previously.

There was also a greater awareness around disability and long-term illnesses, with more young people putting themselves in this category.

And other areas highlighted included an increase in youngsters saying they used the internet to meet new friends; an increase in people identifying they were young carers and there was an increase in young people trying electronic cigarettes. However, there was a decrease this year in the number of children who had drunk alcohol.

The Commissioners and Cabinet are recommended to approve the priorities for a child-centred borough as well as the setting up of a board, and working groups, based on these themes. Other recommendations include involving schools and the development of excellence awards.

See more about the meeting on 6 June