Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

31.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

No apologies were received.

32.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 217 KB

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

None.

33.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on January 29th 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on January 29th 2020 be approved as an accurate record.

34.

Call In: Children's Centres Consultation Results - Family Hubs pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To consider and determine the above Call In.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained the background to the call-in and to the report that was discussed at Cabinet, stating that this was a consultative step and there would be further consultation going forward.

 

Cllr Baldwin claimed that the report for Cabinet contained some questionable assertions. He stated that a reorganisation of the children’s centre, youth services and family resilience teams had been under consideration since 2016, and that the spending cuts identified in the latest report had been included in the previous two budgets. Cllr Baldwin stated that although it was laudable to delay the cuts in order to better understand their impact on services, this was irrelevant as the Gunning Principles that were referenced in the Cabinet report referred only to the timing of the consultation and not the cuts themselves.

 

Cllr Baldwin claimed that the Cabinet report ignored statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State under section 5D(2) of the Childcare Act, which provided the lawful basis for consultations on children’s centre provision. He said that the Council must take it into account and should not depart from it unless they have good reason for doing so, and that the legislation said that there was a statutory duty on the Council to ensure there were sufficient children’s centres, so far as reasonably practicable, to meet local need. Cllr Baldwin stated that the Childcare Act said there should be a presumption against the closure of children’s centres and queried if this guidance had been followed while the plans were being developed, and if a good reason had been given to depart from the guidance.

 

Cllr Baldwin went on to say that from the report it did not appear that children’s centres staff, advisory board members or service providers had been consulted; or, if they had then the data from these consultees was missing from the Cabinet report. He said it was not clear what legal advice had been given to the Cabinet to assist their decision making, and subsequent attempts to improve understanding had not been helpful. Cllr Baldwin claimed there were doubts that the Cabinet had received any legal advice emanating wholly from within the Royal Borough before taking their decision at the April 30th meeting. 

 

Cllr Carroll, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, Children Services, Health and Mental Health, stated that the Council’s approach had been extremely open, consultative and transparent and had been discussed at two recent Cabinet meetings. He also stated that the proposals had been discussed at a recent Overview and Scrutiny meeting, and it had been regrettable that Members had not attended in order to raise any concerns. Cllr Carroll said there would be further consultation before any decisions were made.

 

Cllr Tisi stated that one of the reasons for the call-in had been because the proposals did not appear to comply with the Access for All policy, as part of the strategy within the Local Transport Plan. She said that access to everyday services and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
To note the April 30th Cabinet decision on Family Hubs was lawful and for an amended report to go back to Cabinet Motion Carried
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