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Early years consultation given the go ahead

9 May

Statement on behalf of Cllr Andrew Mackness, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services:

Today Cabinet approved recommendations to go out to consultation on the transformation of early help and children’s centre services. This means a six week period of consultation will go ahead during which people will have an opportunity to have their say.

The proposals look at the creation of four ‘super hub’ centres from which integrated children’s centres and early years help can be provided for the whole of Medway. If given the go ahead following public consultation, the ‘super hub’ centres would combine children’s centre services for 0-5-year-olds, with early help teams who work with families and children who are aged five and upwards.

This means families would benefit from a whole host of services under one roof. Each ‘super hub’ would also serve a wider area by operating as a base for outreach work, through which more tailored services could be provided such as visits to the most vulnerable families in their own homes, giving the potential for better overall outcomes.

The comprehensive six week consultation will take place between Wednesday, 31 May until 5pm on Wednesday, 12 July 2017, to ensure that we hear the views of local people before reaching a final decision. There will be extensive opportunities for people to have their say and we will be working closely with families, carers, schools and health providers. We'll also be holding community engagement events where people can find out more and have their say.

I’d urge everyone who has a view on this to submit their comments once the consultation is live and let us know their ideas about how we can deliver services in a different way. The service must transform if we are to continue to deliver quality early help to families and we need to think of innovative ways to do that. We cannot stand still and watch our services in their current model suffer due to reductions and changes in central government funding and a reducing council budget.