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Contact: Jane Garrard
Apologies for absence
Councillor Phil Jackson – personal reasons
Councillor Maria Joannou – other council business
Councillor Nayab Patel – personal reasons
Councillor Maria Watson - leave
Appointment of Vice Chair
RESOLVED to appoint Councillor Maria Joannou as Vice-Chair of this Committee for this municipal year (May 2022 to April 2023).
Declarations of Interests
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 31 March 2022
The Committee confirmed the minutes of the meeting held on 31 March 2022 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair.
Report of the Head of Legal and Governance
Councillor Cheryl Barnard and Catherine Underwood introduced the report setting out the current position in delivering each of the agreed budget savings for 2022/23, the most significant of which relate to Children’s Centres and the Play and Youth Service.
Ailsa Barr, Director of Children’s Integrated Services, provided an update on the proposed closure of five Children’s Centres. She confirmed that progress is on track to achieve associated budget savings, while continuing to deliver a service across the City. In response to questions from the Committee and in the subsequent discussion the following points were made:
The five Children’s Centres proposed for closure are
presently being offered to lease to organisations via a robust
Expression of Interest process which is weighted around the
financial sustainability of those organisations interested.
Expressions of Interest have been received for five of the Centres
and these will be evaluated and decisions made in July.
The opportunity to lease the Centres was highlighted as part of the
consultation process so that the information was all in one place.
Some Committee members raised concern that this may mean that some
community groups may not have seen the information and therefore
missed opportunities to raise expressions of interest. They commented on the importance of promoting such
opportunities far and wide and suggested that there could have been
a role for ward councillors in engaging local organisations that
may have been interested and facilitating discussions about what
could be possible locally.
One of the most prominent concerns raised in the consultation was
about local childcare availability. However, a number of the groups
that have made expressions of interest in leasing the centres are
An interim arrangement will be in place over the summer and
transition to the new model will be managed through existing links
with partners, which are strong. Centres will be talking with
families and professionals, advertising the new offer. There will continue to be a service in all areas
of the City as the new model is to have hubs for staff to be based
on and then go out to visit other areas.
(e) The new model of delivery will be supported by a new Early Help Strategy, which is being developed by the Children’s Partnership.
(f) In response to concern raised by some Committee members about the new model of delivery being appropriately targeted to ensure a reach to the most vulnerable and in need of support and that the service is able to adequately meet the level of demand, which may change, the Committee was assured that data on demand and the level of need will be closely monitored through, for example, a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.
Voluntary sector services can refer families for help, if they have
the parent’s consent. The Designated Safeguarding Leads
Network works across the city to discuss this and share knowledge.
There are also universal services for children in the city and
within this there are pathways to access additional support if
(h) The MacAlister Report has recommended more funding for Early Help Services. However, this will not necessarily mean the Children’s Centres can reopen.
Ailsa Barr, Director of Children’s Integrated Services, provided an update on the delivery of budget savings relating to Play and Youth Services. She reported that progress is on track to achieve the budget savings, a new team is being put in place and the new service is currently in the creation phase. In response to questions from the Committee and in the subsequent discussion the following points were made:
Additional funding has been agreed to retain three more worker
posts than originally proposed. As the nature of roles within the
team has changed, not all posts have been filled by existing staff
and interviews are currently taking place to fill the
A reduced service is being run currently for the most vulnerable,
and signposting is given to additional support available with other
agencies and voluntary groups. The
service will need to work more closely with partners, such as the
Police and NHS to deliver services. Some Committee members raised
concern that services provided by other organisations may also be
affected by financial pressures, or other changes affected those
organisations, and this could leave gaps in provision. If there are no groups available then provision of service will be looked
at. The Director accepted that this
could be a challenge, although the Council was limited as to what
it could do to address this but assured the Committee that for
situations where there is no service/ support to refer or signpost
to, consideration will be given as to what else can be put in place
Working closely with the community and parents will also be very
important, and there is potential for them to be supported to run
some services themselves.
(l) The new Youth Workers will be looking at the offer of services across the city to make sure there is not duplication, and that there is a regular offer of sessions.
(1) recommend that consideration is given to extending the period during which Expressions of Interest for use of vacant Children’s Centres and Youth Centres can be made to enable wider publicity about the opportunities available, including utilising the knowledge of ward councillors and Neighbourhood Services, to ensure that there are no missed opportunities for local delivery of local services;
(2) request written briefing is provided to Committee members about the outcomes of the Expression of Interest process for operating from vacant Children’s Centres and Youth Centres; and
review how the new arrangements for Children’s
Centres and the Youth and Play Services are working, and the
impacts of changes in March.
Presentation by the Director for Children’s Integrated Services
David Johns, Consultant in Public Health, delivered a presentation to the Committee about the concept of family hubs and the opportunities that it presents for the City. He highlighted the following information:
The Government has committed to championing Family Hubs, a
system-wide model of providing high-quality, joined-up,
whole-family support services through a child’s early years
until they reach the age of 19 (or 25 for young people with special
educational needs and disabilities).
(b) Nottingham City Council is eligible to apply for a share of funding, and has already been working with the Government on expectations around this. The hubs are likely to include many services that are already run, but delivered in different ways such as online.
In response to questions from the Committee and in the subsequent discussion the following points were made:
Some Committee members commented that many families in the more
deprived areas of Nottingham do not have easy access to the
internet, so services will need to be flexible to ensure that
issues with digital access are taken into account and those most in
need of support are able to access it.
Services for refugees and asylum seekers should be included such as
language support, and the offer must be culturally
(e) Partnership working will be important to make sure that the funding goes as far as possible.
(1) recommend that the development of a family hub approach includes a culturally appropriate offer for all communities in the City; and
(2) recommend that the Council works with partners, such as those in the Integrated Care System, to ensure the model that is developed is as sustainable as possible given that funding is only available for three years.
Resolved to note the work that is currently planned for the remainder of the 2022/23 municipal year.
Future meeting dates
To agree to meet on the following Thursdays at 10am:
· 28 July 2022
· 3 November 2022
· 1 December 2022
· 26 January 2023
· 30 March 2023
Resolved to meet on the following Thursdays at 10am:
· 28 July 2022
· 3 November 2022
· 1 December 2022
· 26 January 2023
· 30 March 2023