All change for 15 child centres

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A PROPOSED shake-up of Doncaster children’s centres is expected to put them all under the control of the local authority.

Doncaster Council’s Cabinet has approved a plan for the council to manage all 21 Children’s Centres directly.

Currently the council runs six and the other 15 are managed by a range of partners including Action for Children, school governing bodies, RDaSH, and the Brighter Futures Learning Partnership Trust.

A key factor in the decision to centrally manage the Children’s Centres is the uncertain future for funding after March 2013, which makes long term planning and awarding contracts difficult, and poses a financial risk to the council.

Doncaster Children’s Centres form part of the council’s new Integrated Family Support Service which brings together Children’s Centres, Youth Services and Family Support Services.

The IFSS wants to work with families at an early stage and actively seek out people who might need help and support rather than waiting for them to approach the council with problems.

Coun Eric Tatton-Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “There are no issues with the quality of what is on offer at centres at the moment, but we need to plan for an uncertain financial future.

“We want to make sure that the services families can access through Children’s Centres are consistent and giving best value for money, and also see whether we can reduce the running costs by managing them centrally.”

Staff who work in Children’s Centres who are employed by other organizations would become employees of the council.