Responding to the Council’s consultation into the future of the Early Years Health & Wellbeing Service affecting Children’s Centres, local MP Steve McCabe has raised concerns about the lack of detail in the plans and the way the consultation has been carried out.
Birmingham City Council began the consultation in June. The plans reveal 26 children’s centres across the city are earmarked for closure but without any real detail about how the new model would make up for the loss of these centres and how the new model will deliver children’s centres services.
Steve McCabe and his Birmingham Labour MP colleagues have been raising their concerns about the quality and timing of the consultation with Council bosses over the summer but are yet to receive concrete answers to their questions.
Birmingham City Council launched their consultation into Early Years Health and Welling Service on 19 June and it closes on 17 August. The new services are due to start under the new provider, Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust, and their partners, including Barnardo’s, on 1 November 2017.
Steve said “I am obviously concerned that the Council are proposing to close one children’s centre and downgrade another centre in my constituency without any real information about how the new model will ensure that families and children will not lose vital services they rely on. It is astonishing to think that a full-scale consultation can take place, largely during the school holidays, without that model being shared.”
“There are major questions that still remain unanswered about these closures, the lack of detail that is publicly available, whether there will be a transition period between the old service and new service so families don’t lose out, how many staff will lose their jobs and how exactly the results of this consultation will inform the new model if a timetable is already in place to close centres and run the new service from 1 November.”
Back in July staff, parents and volunteers from children centres across Birmingham protested outside the council house over the closures and job losses.
Along with the public consultation, Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust also reported it was carrying out a consultation with staff members over bricks and motor changes and anticipated very few job losses.