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Second consultation on child services transformation proposal underway

George Roberts

The council’s plans to transform the borough’s children’s services to a hub-based model and close several youth centres have gone to another public consultation.

The consultation is being held so the public can share their views on the council’s plans to shut down the services being provided at 12 of the 22 sites in the borough and switch to a centralised hub model.

The two hubs - one in Maidenhead and one in Windsor - will consist of one main centre where the majority of the workforce is based, and a few sub-venues nearby. Family hub services would be delivered from these sites, in community venues, in people’s homes and via other community outreach. The focus of the new model is to provide support to those most in need in the borough, but will see a reduction in universal services like youth clubs and playgroups.

The transformation would also see a change from three separate children’s services teams to one central hub team, leading to a reduction in staffing numbers.

The consultation started on Thursday, July 23 and will run for eight weeks until Thursday, September 17.

Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyne Hill), cabinet member for adult social care, children’s services, health and mental health, said: “We want to be able to provide local resources, refocussed, which support our most vulnerable children, young people and families, helping to reduce the need for statutory intervention.

“The proposed model focusses on using high footfall centres more intensively and responsive outreach work to replace the reliance on a static and inflexible timetable-led programme, allowing our resources to keep pace with the needs of our most vulnerable residents.

“It is important to hear resident views on how we develop that model that best meets the needs of our children, young people and families.”

Meanwhile, leader of the local independents Cllr Lynne Jones was critical of the consultation.

She said: “Things have already been put in place to shut centres down because we haven’t got the money.

“What they might get out of a consultation is a little bit more information about where these services are really needed.

“I don’t think I have seen one where a consultation and reorganisation has led to more services being provided.”

To view all the information relating to the plans, visit https://rbwm.afcinfo.org.uk/pages/local-offer/information-and-advice/send-consultation-hub-and-resource-bank/consultations

Virtual drop-in sessions will also be held tomorrow (Friday) from 5pm to 6pm, on Friday August 21 from 1pm to 2pm, Friday September 4 from 9am to 10am and Monday, September 14 from 9am to 10am. To request an invitation to a drop-in session, email familyhubs@achievingforchildren.org.uk

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