Cold reality bites for the future of child services

Warwickshire County Council
Warwickshire County Council

Tenders are now out to detail the future and management of Kenilworth’s children’s centres as final changes come into force this summer.

Threats have been looming for the care providers since Warwickshire County Council announced potential cuts to the family care providers amid budget cuts of £92million over the next four years.

After consultations and campaigns, Kenilworth’s two centres on Bertie Road and St John’s were spared from closure along with over 30 others across Warwickshire.

But they must instead now find ‘new ways of working’ to ensure the services can continue as the council looks to cut spending by 30 per cent.

This will include shared management, amalgamation and possible reduction in services in details now being finalised after being agreed by cabinet in September.

Some centres will no longer deliver their full ‘early years offer’, but team up with those nearby to complete the care.

A council spokesman said: “A tendering exercise is currently under way seeking providers to come forward and bid for management and delivery of the early years offer at children’s centre groups.

“Evaluations of tender bids are presently taking place with a view to award new contracts in early April.

“The precise arrangements for how much and how frequently individual children’s centres within a group or collaboration would provide different parts of the early years offer would be agreed locally between WCC and the provider.

“For Kenilworth this would mean a grouping of Kenilworth children’s centre and nursery school and St John’s children’s centre.”

The centres offer health care, family support, parenting courses and play sessions and Kenilworth Town Council has previously pledged “complete support” for the services.

Cllr Kate Dickson (Lib Dem, Abbey) said: “This is a huge service which is at risk.

“We have a responsibility to our families and we need to meet that responsibilty.”