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Opinion : Will the new early help service for children and families in Buckinghamshire be an improvement?

| January 9, 2018


They’ve done it.

After months of deliberation, public consultations and protests by parents a New Early Help service for children and families in Buckinghamshire has been given green light.

Under the new proposals, which are hoped to save £3.07m over four years, there are to be nine ‘community team bases’ located throughout Buckinghamshire.

As a result over the next few months a decision will have to be made on how the remaining twenty eight buildings can be used in the future for the maximum benefit of children, families and communities.

My good self was surprised to see the proposed locations for the new ‘community team bases’. There are to be three in Aylesbury, one in Buckingham, Burnham and Chesham while Wycombe will also get three.

The three in Wycombe are to be located in Castlefield, Sands and Hamilton Road.

Sadly Princes Risborough, Marlow, Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross and other major centres of population in Buckinghamshire are not going to have a ‘team base’.

Indeed there will be two in the western side of Wycombe (Castlefield and Sands) and one roughly close to the town centre (Hamilton Road).

However the east side of Wycombe (Totteridge, Micklefield, Loudwater, etc….) won’t be having a ‘team base’.

It would appear the new service is going to re-use existing buildings rather than take a fresh look at the needs of the town.

Personally my good self is against the re-organisation and changes to the service but if it really had to be done then surely there should be a ‘team base’ in every major town in Buckinghamshire?

In Wycombe rather than having the ‘team bases’ located in far flung places where parking is a problem wouldn’t it have been better to have had just one ‘team base’ in the town centre?

The old library building in Queen Victoria Road would have been an ideal location, sadly that appears to have been left to rot which is a dreadful shame.

Only time will tell if the changes to the services are going to be an improvement or not. But surely the re-organisation of something as important as the welfare of children must not be rushed or for the opportunity to exist for the least possible failure?

Rather than a ‘big bang’ approach to the jiggling of the services would it not make sense to make the changes a little at a time, gaining feedback from those who use the service, to make sure any changes are actually an improvement?

Let’s see what happens and how things pan out when the changes start to be implemented.

However yours truly fears the new changes could turn out to be a ‘Masterplan’ for services to help children and families in Buckinghamshire. Indeed the new plans could end up being as popular as the other ‘Masterplan’ that’s currently messing up the road network in Wycombe town centre.

What do you think?

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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