Review rules no change to centre plans

Plans to change how children’s centres are run will go ahead despite calls from councillors to postpone.

On Tuesday a Kirklees scrutiny panel cemented the cabinet’s decision to go ahead with the ‘cluster’ reorganisation despite protests from people.

However, the panel for children and young people made urgent recommendations alongside its decision.

Chairman Coun Cahal Burke (Lib Dem, Lindley) said children’s centre staff must be briefed on the changes, and the plans must also be made clear to centre users and the wider community.

In addition, Early Intervention Partnership Boards will be formed as soon as possible and will present quarterly reports to the council’s cabinet.

Tuesday’s meeting was called after councillors asked last month’s cabinet decision to approve the changes to be reviewed.

Liberal Democrat councillors Coun Rochelle Parchment (Dalton), Coun Kath Pinnock (Cleckheaton), Coun Ann Denham (Almondbury), Coun Christine Iredale (Golcar) along with the Green’s Coun Derek Hardcastle and independent Coun Terry Lyons (Holme Valley North) submitted a notice of ‘call-in’ arguing that the decision had breached Kirklees Council’s constitution by failing to provide sufficient information to the public.

At the all-day meeting, children’s centre users and union Unison representatives argued that the original children’s centre consultation was not clear enough, and that there was insufficient information about centre staffing levels in each cluster and which services would be universally provided.

The cluster model will mean up to four centres will be grouped together with a single management and administration hub for each to cut costs .