Action for Children and Spurgeons will not have Northamptonshire children’s centre deals renewed

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Action for Children and Spurgeons, who were delivering targeted children’s centre services for the council across Northamptonshire, will not have their contracts renewed in March.

Cabinet members for Northamptonshire County Council are set to review children’s centre services in the county, which will look at how the council can deliver a £4.5 million saving.

Earlier this year, the council agreed to a new service delivery model, which could see some children’s services brought in-house in order to lower commissioning costs as part of the transition into a standalone children’s trust.

A council spokeswoman said now said this means the two charities no longer fit into that model.

She said: “Over 1,000 families are currently accessing targeted children’s centre activity in the county, of which more than half are already being supported by the council through other services. “Therefore, the review of children’s centres will look at how the council can reduce potential duplication and deliver better value for money.”

County council cabinet member for children’s services, councillor Matthew Golby said: “At present, it is often the case that families have a number of professionals offering support and at a time when our budgets are under increasing pressure, we have to be sure we are providing value-for-money services.

“We are committed to supporting families and we will continue to do this through existing services including focused family interventions.

“It is also important to note that universal children’s centre services such as Rhyme-time, messy play and baby massage, which are delivered through libraries, are unaffected.”

The Cabinet meeting is set to go ahead next week and will discuss the proposed early help review, which will look at ways of making services more efficient.

Children’s centre services in Corby are set to stay in place during the period of the review as the current arrangements by a local consortium may link with the council’s proposed future model.

Universal children’s centre services currently delivered through libraries will not be affected by the review.

Cabinet will be asked to consult on the proposed review to give families the opportunity to provide their feedback on future services.

More detailed proposals about future children’s centre services will be brought back to Cabinet after the consultation has ended in February.