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Decision to implement new early help services for families in Buckinghamshire put on hold pending further consultation

| March 29, 2018

Buckinghamshire County Council has put on hold the decision to implement a new early help services for families in Buckinghamshire while further consultation takes place.

Over the last few months, the County Council has been talking with local councillors, residents, schools and partners, holding public meetings and sharing plans for the new early help service and the suggested future use of children’s centres and youth buildings in the local community.

As a result of the conversations, the County Council wants to do more to capture the views of residents and local families before implementing the new service and will be carrying out a further public consultation in the next few months.

As such, the council will not be implementing the decision made by Cabinet on Monday 8th January 2018 in relation to moving to the new service.

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Warren Whyte said: ‘We recognise the strength of feeling amongst families and the local community about the changes we are proposing and want to continue to have these discussions. Therefore, we will consult further with residents.

No public meetings will take place for the time being, and we expect to publicise new dates for these as part of the new consultation process. I hope residents and families will feel reassured that we are listening to their concerns and want to work with them to shape the support for families going forward.

So far local discussions have taken place through Local Area Forums and public meetings.

The first consultation on plans for a new way of supporting children and families in Buckinghamshire took place in July 2017. In January 2018 plans were given the go ahead to redesign services that support families in Buckinghamshire with early help by bringing them together as one service with the ultimate goal to make it easier for families to be supported with all of their issues ranging from when their children are babies right through to teenagers.

The decision to move to a new Early Help service was then challenged through the councils call-in process, however the call-in was  and subsequently rejected in early February 2018. Since then County Council has been talking with staff and the services involved about how the new service will work.

As part of the next stage, the County Council have also been having conversations with local communities, groups and organisations about the future use of children’s centre buildings to ensure maximum use for children, families or the local community where possible.

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