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Agenda item

Progress towards implementation of Phase Two and Phase Three of the Early Help Strategy 2016-2019


Consideration was given to the briefing report and presentation on the implementation of Phase 2 and 3 of the Early Help Review and an update provided in respect of the progress in establishing Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) with schools for youth service provision and related transfer of assets.


With the aid of powerpoint David McWilliams and Eileen Chambers gave a presentation on the Early Help Offer, which highlighted:-


·             Rotherham’s Early Help Offer.

·             Three Phases.

·             Phase Two and Three Objectives.

·             What was working well.

·             Youth Centre Updates.

·             What we were worried about.

·             Children Centres.

·             What was working well.

·             What worried about – Broom Valley.

·             Day Care.

·             Next steps.

·             Youth Centres and Team Bases.


A discussion and a question and answer session ensued and the following issues were raised and clarified:-


·             Who were the representatives for the unparished areas of the borough.


Representatives were still to be determined.


·             What was the current position with regards to the Maltby Playgroup at The Linx.


Confirmation has been distributed and their position was secure in the longer term.


·             The target for savings of £205k had been achieved due a combination of freezing vacant posts and non-essential expenditure, but what proportion of the saving was due to vacant posts.


Some posts had been taken out of the structure altogether.  To offset the budget pressures across the wider directorate post were kept vacant during the selection process to offset the budget.  To achieve the savings of £380,000 a longer freeze would be required from 1st April, 2019 to help with wider pressures and the move towards a more equitable position.


What work was taking place with the Children and Young People’s Consortium and wider voluntary sector to maximise funding bids to offset financial pressures?

This action was already taking place.  The Council was working with VAR, the Children’s Consortium, Parish Councils and a number of independent organisations to bid more collectively and collaboratively.  The Council was becoming more targeted and consortium bids had been submitted around holiday hunger.  .  It was challenging and people were working closely and more collaboratively in search of the larger pots of money on a more sustainable basis. 


·             Was it likely that some of the children centre provision would continue following the de-registration of some children’s centres and was there a spread of where this was still happening.


In many cases there was no change to delivery, but the change was from where it was delivered from.


For example – the children centre offer was delivered from Tesco’s Tuesday and Thursday morning and this was very popular.  This could be observed by Members if there was a wish for this to be arranged.


In addition, Greasbrough Library offered support to around 20/30 parents and again delivered outside the children’s centre.


·             Could the personal support and help offered in Children’s Centres  be provided in more diverse settings?


Part of the restructure was to keep roles for outreach and engagement.  There were people that worked with the 0-5, but in the new structure there was to be a 0-19 engagement post.  The service had been on this journey for some time, but were confident the shift for working from different places and locations would be positive.  Particular posts had been retained, but this would be subject to close monitoring.


·             If there was no interest from a private provider and there was a sufficiency need for provision, the Local Authority would look to continuing the childcare delivery for a period of three years.  Was this likely?


There would be no change to the way day care was run as the building was still available at Broom and the care would be provided whilst there was the demand.


·             Remedial work was required even with deregistration.  Who, therefore, was picking up the costs of remedial work at Wath Victoria.


Very minor works were required for completion.


·             With regards to the corporate property assets how was this working out given the impact of having to save £118,000.


The saving had already been made.  Assets had been handed over and the budget reduced by that amount.  Responsibility was now with the Corporate Property Unit.  This was a real saving to the service and a smaller cost to the Corporate Centre.


The Council’s position was now for Asset Management to decide on the use of those buildings for.  Some of the buildings may be sold or the sites used for alternative purposes.


The only one in terms of all those buildings agreed that was not going according to plan was the one at Broom.  The school had changed their mind about this provision.  The transfer of the Broom Valley building would be delayed until the end of the summer term so as not to disrupt the Foundation 1 children currently using the building.


·             When would costs be finalised.


There was a need for capacity in the Legal Services which was being addressed.  .  There was no impact on service users.


The Chair thanked officers for their presentation and suggested the Improving Lives Select Commission continue to have a watching brief.


Resolved:-  (1)  That officers be thanked for their presentation.


(2)  That the report and the presentation be received and the contents noted.


(3)  That a further report be submitted to the Improving Lives Select Commission once all the details had been finalised.

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