The Cabinet is asked to approve the plans for consultation from early March 2021 on the proposals for the Early Help service for future decision after the conclusion of the consultation.
The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People will introduce the report.
The Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee will be invited to speak for up to three minutes to provide the views of the Committee on the report.
Each of the main minority group leaders will be invited to speak for up to three minutes each on the report.
The Cabinet will then discuss the report and proposals prior to taking its decision.
Following consideration of the report, Cabinet resolved to:
Approve the plans for consultation from early March 2021 on the proposals for the Early Help service, the outcome of which will return to Cabinet in July 2021 for further consideration of the proposals for the service.
The call-in deadline is 4 March 2021.
70.1 Cabinet considered a report by the Executive Director of Children, Young People and Learning. The report was introduced by Cllr Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People who outlined the planned widespread public consultation to review the Early Help service with proposals for a more agile and targeted approach and that during lockdown, even with centres closed, early help contacts had increased.
70.2 Lucy Butler, Executive Director for Children, Young People and Learning told Cabinet the proposals sought to be preventative to stop the requirement of intervention by social care. The proposals would include greater working with schools and the better focussing of resources.
70.3 Cllr Stephen Hiller, Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee advised the Committee considered the report in January and felt it was right to look at redesigning the offer for a more far reaching and aligned service between early help and social care. He advised the Committee supported the consultation and would review the outcomes in June.
70.4 Cllr Dr James Walsh, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group expressed concern at the closure of Find it Out Youth Centres and felt this may contribute to mental health issues. He asked the service to consider carefully the closure of Children and Family Centres.
70.5 Cllr Michael Jones, Leader of the Labour Group felt the overall reach of the service would not be increased by closing Children and Family Centres and asked for the footfall data by each individual centre. He asked why a pre-consultation exercise had not been undertaken to look at why people weren’t attending the centres.
70.6 Cllr Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue and Communities commented that the plans were about delivering the best outcomes and not about cutting a service, noting it should reduce the demand on social care. He added a ‘do nothing’ approach would not manage the increase in demand the service. Cllr Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills felt it would enhance and strengthen the connection with schools and that an informal consultation with schools had shown them to be supportive. Cllr Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health gave her support for the proposals noting that the West Sussex early help model was recognised nationally for its intervention work. Cllr Jeremy Hunt, Cabinet Member for Finance advised he felt the proposals were another step in the council’s improvement journey. Cllr Deborah Urquhart, Cabinet Member for Environment felt the proposals were innovative and enabled support to reach those in rural areas.
70.7 The Leader noted that libraries, health services and schools were also accessible for young people to access services otherwise provided by the Find it Out Centres. Alix Macfarlane, Interim Head of Communication and Engagement advised Cabinet of the consultation hub on which FAQs would be added and updated.
70.8 Cllr Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People thanked colleagues for their input and summarised that the buildings would be placed strategically in areas of ... view the full minutes text for item 70