Suffolk children’s centre consultation deadline approaches

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services. - Credit: Archant

So far more than 700 people have had their say as part of a consultation on the future of children's centres in Suffolk.

With just over two weeks left before the consultation closes, members of the public are being urged to give their views on proposals that were published on July 24.

The consultation will end on October 16.

The county council continues to be fully committed to delivering high quality services to families across Suffolk.

To achieve this, the council has to make sure that services are delivered in ways that different communities want to access them and that they are making the most efficient use of their buildings.


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Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for children's services, said: 'Like many people up and down the county, we strongly value the good work carried out by our children's centres and the services they provide.

However, we believe that more can be done to ensure that these services are as effective as they can be and reaching all those who would benefit.

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'We want the precious resources we direct towards early years care to be focused as much as possible on the services that will make a difference, and not on buildings. 'Our aim through this consultation is to hear the views of people across Suffolk about the children's centre services and how they feel the services should be shaped.'

Mr Jones continued: 'It is extremely important to have as many people's views as possible before a decision is taken in December.

As part of the wider consultation, we continue to work with MP Frank Field who is lending his relevant expertise as a much-respected expert in the field of early years.

'I would encourage all those using these services to take the time to share their views as part of this consultation.'

If the proposals are approved, centre services will continue but they would be delivered from nearby children's centres, other local community facilities or via home visits direct to the families that need support. This approach will help those that, for transport reasons, struggle to get to children's centres.

The changes would contribute towards a savings total of £2.9 million from children's centre services over a four year period leading up 2017. £1.25 million has already been saved from recurring underspends in the service and cutting waste - a savings level agreed by councillors in February 2014.

This is 1.9% of the county council's £156 million savings requirement over the same period.

Decisions on the proposals will be made in December 2014 with any approved changes being implemented from April 2015.

To take part in the consultation:

Visit: www.suffolk.gov.uk/consultations and complete the online questionnaire or complete a hard copy questionnaire and return it to:

Freepost, RTAC-HSKL-CSAY, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich IP1 2EB

Hard copy questionnaires are available to download at: www.suffolk.gov.uk/consultations, from your local children's centre or on request by calling: 0845 603 1842.

You can also provide your feedback via email: ChildrensCentre.feedback@suffolk.gov.uk

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