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Posted on 12 February 2024

Public Consultation on reduction in funding available for early help teams and children’s centres in Derbyshire.

A consultation about the future of our early help service and children’s centres has just been launched. You can find the consultation on the Derbyshire County Council website.

In common with authorities across the country, the council is facing budgetary pressures far greater than experienced before, due to factors beyond its control. These include dealing with higher than anticipated inflation and higher prices for fuel, energy and materials, meeting the cost of the national pay award set nationally but met locally, and the continued unprecedented increase in demand for vital adults’ and children’s social care services.

As well as a current forecast overspend for 2023-2024 of £34.1m, the council has a predicted shortfall of around £40m in its budget for the year ahead (2024-2025) which has resulted in the savings proposals being put forward.

The changes are needed in order to support the council setting a balanced budget. Around £3.9m needs to be saved from the Early Help service and children’s centre budgets.

The early help teams and children’s centres provide a range of services for children and their families. The buildings are used by our teams to provide specific groups and activities for the families they are working with. The buildings are also used by other organisations to provide support to children and families as well as the wider community. 

We are proposing that the new service will offer a combination of response to statutory expectations combined with some practical family support:

  • Parenting assessments, as needed by the courts and social care colleagues 
  • Family Time, supervised sessions with parents and their children as directed by the courts 
  • Work to track and support school leavers if they do not find a place at college, sixth form or a job with training 
  • Family Help – direct work with families, where another organisation refers a family to us. 

The impact of these changes will be that the below will either be considerably reduced or ceased:

  • Undertaking early help assessments with children, young people and families
  • One to one support within the home
  • Direct work with children and young people
  • Connecting children, young people, and families to more sustainable and community-based support
  • Lead professionals leading a Team Around the Family
  • Running parent groups to help them deal with challenging behaviour from their children
  • Targeted support to reduce the risks of children being exploited
  • Carrying out interviews with young people if they have returned home after being reported missing to the Police
  • Helping families where neglect is suspected
  • Street and community-based work with young people
  • Support to address conflict within families
  • Support to improve family relationships
  • Support to improve school attendance
  • Support preparing families for the birth of a child
  • Running sessions for parents of children aged 0-5 on child development, school readiness and parenting

We are proposing to keep children’s centre buildings in the following areas. These are our larger community-based children’s centres that are used to deliver more services:

  • Heanor
  • Glossop
  • Buxton
  • Brimington
  • Birdholme
  • North Wingfield
  • Shirebrook
  • Creswell
  • Eckington
  • Ilkeston
  • Long Eaton
  • Woodville

We realise that these proposed changes could affect the work that your school carries out with children and families, and would encourage you to take part in the consultation, which runs until 24 March 2024.

Two roadshow events are also available for all partners supporting children, young people and families to attend around the proposed review of early help and children’s centres.

The roadshows will be an opportunity to look at how can we work together to ensure that, despite the proposed reductions in Early Help, the well-being and support available to children, young people and families is maintained or even improved.

The roadshows for partners are planned for the following dates:

  • Monday 11 March 2024 - between 10am and midday, County Hall, Matlock (Members’ Room)
  • Tuesday 12 March 2024 - between 10am and midday, County Hall, Matlock (Members’ Room)

If you would like to attend one of the roadshows, please complete the form, available via Microsoft Forms, to indicate your preferred date in order that we have an idea of the numbers attending.


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