Karen Buck

Working hard for Westminster North

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Response from Westminster Children Services to my letter regarding Children’s Centres

Further to our email exchange below, I have liaised with colleagues and will now address each of your questions in turn:

£500,000 will be saved from the Children's Centres (outside the play service):

It is my understanding that you are currently liaising with Jayne Vertkin regarding the above. It is anticipated that Jayne will provide a response within the next five working days.

£125,000 from Youth Services:

The council has undertaken engagement with service users and partners to explore different models of youth service delivery that, within a reduced budget, continues to enable access to services for children and young people across Westminster but more effectively targets and engages those who would have additional support needs. The models explored have included better integration with services such as schools, arts and sports provision and national initiatives to ensure children and young people benefit from the broad offer of provision across the borough and to also ensure that commissioned services are geographically located to most effectively engage those with additional needs.

Have individual schools been asked if they will take on the play service and if so, how many of them have indicated yes or no?

The council is considering a variety of options for the future provision of school-age childcare and play. We are consulting with service users, third sector partners, and schools to determine the likely impact of different models service delivery. There is already a mixed economy of providers in Westminster providing school-age childcare for local families. There are four schools managing childcare on site, four third sector providers (including two that are commissioned by schools), and the Westminster Play Service operating at eight locations, including six school sites.

The objective is to secure a comprehensive, accessible and good quality service, whilst meeting the savings targets. This will require a more cost effective set of services whichever delivery model is implemented. There are no plans to close any childcare services as part of this work and some services may increase provision if there is demand from service users and it is a viable proposition. The final recommendations will follow the consultation process.

Host schools have been consulted about the possibility of taking on childcare services at their sites. At present, only one out of the six schools that currently host a play centre has indicated that it would prefer to take on responsibility for childcare.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

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