50% of residents agree with proposed children's services changes
Half of all residents who responded to a consultation on the future of children's services agreed with proposed changes, according to Bucks County Council.
The extended consultation, which ran from July 14 to October 16 this year, put forward the council’s proposal to “bring all the services that support children and families with early help into one service.”
New plans could also see 35 children’s centres closed and replaced with 9 hubs across the county.
The council’s cabinet will now meet to discuss next steps at a meeting on January 8.
Cabinet member for children’s services, Warren Whyte, said: “We’ve taken the time to listen to ensure we get this right for children and families in Buckinghamshire. We’ve heard how much local people value our current children’s centres.
“So, I’m particularly keen to hear the ideas some of our local communities and organisations are generating in order to support keeping these buildings open, whether for Early Years provision, other support for children, young people and families, or broader community use.”
Nearly 2000 residents and 365 organisations took part in the consultation, with 50% of residents and 56% of groups agreeing with or strongly agreeing with the plans.
32% of residents and 31% of organisations disagreed with the proposals.
85% of residents’ responses were from families with children, of which 50% of this group had children under the age of 5 and 22% had children with disabilities.
According to Bucks County Council, the top comments given by both residents and organisations included making sure services for families are accessible and highlighting the need for early help services.
Warren added: “I’m really excited to have this opportunity to shift the emphasis from reactive services that intervene when things have become too difficult for families to manage, to preventative co-ordinated services that support families so they can cope with problems in the future.
“The key family worker role will be critical for this – working with families to tackle their problems in locations where they are most comfortable, and linking with partner organisations.
A summary of results can be found at www.buckscc.gov.uk/earlyhelp