Latest Public Sector News

15.10.18

Protesters gather as councillors meet to discuss mass children’s centre closures

Demonstrators and parents have gathered outside County Hall in Norwich to protest against planned mass children’s centre closures as Norfolk County Council meet to discuss the proposals.

The council is currently undergoing public consultation over plans to shut down 46 out of the council’s 53 centres when their contracts end in September 2019 in order to save money.

The remaining seven, one in each district in Norfolk, will serve as ‘hubs’ providing outreach services as back in February the council’s children’s centre budget for 2019 was cut from £10m to £5m.

The Labour party says the plans are flawed and have not been thought through properly, with the protesters outside the council offices including mothers and children who have used the services being cut.

Cllr Mike Smith-Clare from the Labour group said: "People are passionate about this, they don't want to see centres closed.

"They know cuts are going to affect, not just children but future communities... they are angry and they have every right to be."

The full council is meeting today to present and discuss the report from last month’s children’s services committee, and both the Liberal Democrats and Labour have tabled motions for the meeting calling for the consultation to be suspended.

The amendment up for debate says: “Council regrets the opening of consultations on the future of Children’s Centres before the proposals were agreed for consultation by the Children’s Services Committee,” as well as the refusal of the chair/vice chair of the committee to hold a special meeting to address this.

In July, the authority announced it was taking an extra year to deliver savings to be “more realistic,” with the council now planning to bridge a predicted £95m gap in three years instead of two.

Councils up and down the country are facing significant budget deficits, with Northamptonshire CC the mostly widely reported of these after becoming the first council to issue a section 114 notice in 20 years.

Surrey County Council were also recently engaged in a High Court battle over planned £21m cuts to services for disabled children.

Chairman of the children’s services committee Cllr Penny Carpenter said: “We want to get the right help to children and families as early as possible and create services that are fit for today’s families.

“By spending our money on frontline services, rather than buildings, we’ll be able to provide more focused one-to-one and group support, with a more consistent service across the county.

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Image credit - Labour Group at Norfolk County Council

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

11/03/2019Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

The decline of the Great British high street has been one of the greatest c... more >
Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

11/03/2019Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

Steve Cains, head of power solutions at Public Power Solutions, the wholly-... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welco... more >

the raven's daily blog

Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

18/03/2019Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, outlines his organisation’s campaign to make sure local government tops to government’s list for this ye... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >