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Council commits to protect children’s centres services

by Laura Johnston

Knowsley Council is reassuring local families that the local children’s centre services they value will continue, despite the increasing financial pressures the authority faces thanks to Government cuts.

In order to protect the services, which are a valued resource for many local families, especially those with young children, the council is currently reviewing where those services are best delivered, to provide both value for money and easy access for those who use them.

A consultation is now underway to look at locations for service delivery. The consultation does not propose any reduction in services available to local families. But the consultation will ask service users where they would like to access services, so that they may be more conveniently situated for families. This may allow the council to reduce the number of locations where services are based without impacting on families’ ability to access the services, helping the council save money without adversely affecting the quantity or quality of services provided.

Cllr Joan Lilly, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said “At a time when so many other local authorities are struggling to maintain their children’s centre service at all, continuing to deliver Knowsley’s services is a priority for the council and the services that our children and families need will continue to be delivered.

“We have committed to maintain the same current level of service for our children and families, but due to the Government’s drastic funding cuts, we are now looking at where these valued services should be delivered – the physical buildings and locations used across the borough, many of which are under-used and expensive to run. Potentially this could mean re-locating some services to a setting which is more conveniently situated for families and a significantly reduced cost. Importantly, the services we provide will not be affected.

“We are asking families who use the service for their views on where services are delivered to help to ensure we continue to meets their needs. But people shouldn’t be worried – this is absolutely not about taking services away – it’s protecting frontline services for our children and families in Knowsley.”

Last year, the council carried out a consultation to find out, from the families using the service, what support and facilities they most valued. Using the findings from this, a new improved offer for families was launched in October last year. This means that the services families said they needed and valued are still being delivered, and that will continue.

If you currently use children’s centres in Knowsley, the council is keen to hear your views on where you would like the services to be delivered. Read more about the consultation, and submit your views on the council’s website before Wednesday, 21 March 2018.