Agenda and minutes
Venue: Online meeting only
Contact: Matthew Evans, Democratic Services Officer
Apologies for absence
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Graham Andrews, Councillor Paul Andrews and Mr Sam Pratley.
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest in respect of Schedule 1, Schedule 2 or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.
A declaration of interest was raised by a member in attendance as a local member to the item at agenda item number six, provision of children centre service in Bromyard area: pre decision scrutiny. Councillor Jonathan Lester declared an other interest as his family had used the nursery at the HOPE centre and he had supported the work of the HOPE centre through involvement with local charities.
To receive any written questions from members of the public.
Deadline for receipt of questions is 5:00pm on Wednesday 13 January.
Accepted questions and answers will be published as a supplement prior to the meeting. Please submit questions to: email@example.com.
A copy of the public questions received, responses provided and the supplementary questions is attached at appendix 1.
To undertake pre-decision scrutiny of proposals for the integration of the council commissioned early help children’s centre service for the Bromyard area (worth £25k per annum) with the existing in-house provision from 2021.
The committee considered a report by the Director Children and Families concerning pre-decision scrutiny of the decision regarding the provision of children centre services in the Bromyard area. The Children’s Joint Commissioning Manager (CJCM) introduced the report and outlined the principal points below:
· The current contract with the HOPE centre provided for 11 hours work with families per week. It was recognised that the provider had exceeded the contract and provided an average 17.5 hours per week;
· No cuts to the service were proposed; the £25,000 cost of the contract with HOPE would continue to provide children’s centre services;
· The proposal would see the integration of the contracted service in Bromyard into the service that operated across the county;
· The proposed change to the delivery of the service would be expected to increase capacity for direct work and enable a quick response to changing demand.
The Chairperson of the committee spoke and explained that it was important that when issues of local sensitivity were identified the scrutiny committee should be informed and have the opportunity to conduct scrutiny where appropriate.
The local member for Bromyard West read aloud a representation from Bromyard and Winslow Town Council. The Town Council explained that the proposal to bring the service in-house was not appropriate in the current circumstances, with particular reference to the pandemic.
The local member for Bromyard West read aloud a representation from the local member for Bromyard Bringsty. The representation noted that there was no criticism in the officer report of the service provided by HOPE and the proposal appeared to be for the sake of consistency. An alternative option could be to offer to HOPE the opportunity to run services across the county. There was no reference in the officer report to the outstanding Ofsted rating and there was no evidence in the report that HOPE had been approached to discuss a possible variation of the contract. The proposal was evidence of the marginalisation of Bromyard and the cabinet member was asked to reconsider the proposal.
The local member for Bromyard West spoke on the proposal and raised the principal points below:
· HOPE had been the centre of the community in Bromyard for 20 years.
· It had been acknowledged that the relationship with HOPE was important and valuable but the proposed decision would undermine that relationship.
· The decision was proposed as the service provided by the HOPE centre did not conform to the prevailing arrangements for children’s centres across the county.
· Emotive language had emerged at the recent Town Council meeting and it was concerning that the proposals for children centre services in Bromyard had been perceived as an attack by some participants at the meeting.
· It was noted that the previous comprehensive consultation concerning the centre and service had been carried out in 2017.
· The service provided by the HOPE centre was an exemplar of good practice and should be rolled-out across the county.
The local member for Three Crosses spoke on the proposal and raised the ... view the full minutes text for item 26.