Decision details

Provision of children centre service in Bromyard area

Decision Maker: Cabinet member children and families

Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes



To approve proposals for the temporary extension of a contract for the provision of children’s centre service in the Bromyard reach area for a period up to 12-months.


The Bromyard Reach area is the only part of Herefordshire where Children’s Centre provision is externally commissioned. All other areas are supported via an in-house service which is centrally governed and managed.




(a)  The current contract for the delivery of children’s centre services in the Bromyard reach area is updated to ensure that it remains current and is extended for up to 12-months at a value up to £25,000 to no later than 31 March 2022 in line with Contract Procedure Rules

(b)  Further analysis is provided regarding the benefits and risks of the different options for the future delivery of children’s centre services

(c)  Further community engagement is undertaken to explore the different options for the future delivery of children’s centre services

(d)  A further decision regarding the long-term delivery of the service is taken as soon as possible before the end of 2021


Alternative options considered:


1.    The initial proposals that were recommended in advance of the end of the current contract were that the resources of £25k per year allocated for the external commissioning of children’s centre provision in the Bromyard Reach area should be permanently transferred to the in-house early help children’s centre team from 1 April 2021. Following scrutiny of the proposals, it is not recommended to proceed at the current time in order to provide further evaluation of the service delivery options.


2.    Re-commission a new service to be delivered via an open procurement process in accordance with the council’s contract procedure rules. Continuing separate provision in the Bromyard area will limit the council’s ability to quickly and consistently adapt services to support vulnerable children and families with the most need for early help as demand fluctuates across the county.


3.    Delegate responsibility for the provision of children’s centre services to Town or Parish Councils. While some specialist children’s services are commissioned from appropriate external providers, there are no current plans to delegate such responsibilities. Legal advice is that it is not possible for the council’s duties under the Childcare Act 2006 to be delegated to Town and Parish Councils.


4.    Replicate the wider community service model provided by Hope for Children and their Families Limited across the rest of the county. In this case, the scope of the council’s role relates to the service it currently commissions under contract, rather than the totality of activities that the incumbent contractor provides. There is a range of effective and highly valued community-led services in many parts of the County. The council would not have the power to impose a particular service model on another community, but does encourage and work with communities to learn from best practice elsewhere to support their development.   The Council’s Talk Community Hubs programme provides an opportunity to bring residents together, alongside offering up to date health and wellbeing information and helping to connect people to services, groups and activities, either within their local area or across the county.  The Hope Centre is a Community Hub for the Bromyard area and has received grant funding to support this work. Other hubs include, Hinton Community Centre, Putson Baptist Church, Kington Library, Yarpole Hub (run by the parish good neighbour scheme), and Ross Good Neighbours (run by the local community development trust). A Talk Community Hub can be developed alongside existing community settings, such as village halls, community pubs, organisations, shops or centres, which are already at the heart of the local community, or they can be something completely new.  Herefordshire Council can provide support to nurture and further develop these settings, to help meet the needs of the local community and enable residents to better look after their own health and wellbeing. Although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is affecting how the hubs currently operate, they are finding creative and virtual ways to connect with the local community to ensure residents can still access the information and support they need. Staff and / or volunteers run the hubs from the local community with support from Herefordshire Council.



Reason Key: Strategic nature / impact on communities;

Wards Affected: Bishops Frome & Cradley; Bromyard Bringsty; Bromyard West; Hampton; Three Crosses;

Contact: Richard Watson, Childrens joint commissioning manager Email: Tel: 01432 383047.

Publication date: 19/02/2021

Date of decision: 19/02/2021

Date comes into force if not called in: 26/02/2021

Call-in deadline date: 25/02/2021

Current call-in Count: 0

Accompanying Documents: