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New early years service for Birmingham families

Published: Monday, 16th October 2017

“To give every child in Birmingham an equal chance to have the best start in life so they can achieve their full potential

Following consultation on a new and fairer system for providing early years health and wellbeing services for children and families in the city, a revised plan for its delivery has been published.

The current patchwork of services can be really hard for some families to access, meaning fewer children in Birmingham than the national average currently reach a good development by the time they start school.

The new system – to be delivered by Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHFT) – will be fairer and easier to access, bringing together the current health visiting service and children’s centre services. This will create a network of community-based services around local early years’ hubs.

Although it will be a city-wide service, it will be planned and delivered at district level in order to connect with local communities. There will be a minimum of one main site (hub) per district providing access to a full range of services. Additionally there will be community locations and well-baby clinics where families can access a range of services.

Councillor Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children, families and schools, said: “We were faced with huge budget cuts from central government that meant we had to make big changes to the service. Coupled with this was the need to address underperformance and inconsistency of our service; not enough children reach a good level of development by the time they start school and some of our most vulnerable children do not access services, or don’t get good enough support from them. 

“We've chosen to make the best of the budget we've got left by focusing on what the public told us matters most, which is staff and services rather than bricks and mortar. The result of this is our new community based model, with an increased range of access points going into areas we haven't reached before.

“I know this is one of our most valued services and we have listened throughout the public consultation and made changes as a result.*

“I have always been absolutely clear about the biggest reason we're changing and integrating our services: to improve outcomes for children and families. I just wish that the government had left us with the money to operate the service on the scale our families need.”

Early years services will be based on:

- key centres with concentrations of specialist services and expertise , known as hubs
- mixed teams of staff with different skills working collaboratively together
- some groups of staff based very locally
- services tailored to individual family and local need.

What this means is:


- recognised larger centres providing a focus for staff and children and families
- some services provided in recognised locations such as GP services and libraries
- some staff working from bases but largely being out in the community most of the day
- utilising technology to make access to some services more convenient for families
- utilising technology to enable staff to work more effectively including being able to update records on the move or very promptly after appointments.
 

BCHFT will deliver the new service in partnership with Barnardo’s, Spurgeons Children’s Charity, St Paul’s Community Development Trust and The Springfield Project.

Gareth Howells, nursing and therapies director at Birmingham Community Healthcare, said:
“As a partnership working to support all aspects of health and wellbeing for pre-school children and their families in communities throughout Birmingham, we are committed to ensuring continuing provision of universal services of the highest quality.

“Our aim is to ensure that all of Birmingham’s children are healthy, happy and well prepared to start school, and support Birmingham City Council’s vision ‘to give every child in Birmingham an equal chance to have the best start in life so they can achieve their full potential’.

“This is a large project, with an increased number of locations at which families can access support, which we are confident will deliver very significant benefits for families and communities across the city.

“Throughout the process we have listened to what families need and want. That is what has shaped our approach as we work through the challenges in partnership to get the service absolutely right.”

Maps of provision in all 10 districts are available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm4surA5

*You said, we did

City-wide

You Said

We Did

Later opening hours and weekend services would help you get the support you need.

Confirmed that services will be open later and on weekends where local people need them.

 

Edgbaston

You Said

We Did

Services need to be retained at Lillian de Lissa Children’s Centre or locally on the Benmore Estate.

Lillian de Lissa is now proposed to be utilised at a community location.

 

Erdington

You Said

We Did

Lakeside Children’s Centre is important to the community and services are vital for those families within the local area

Lakeside Children’s Centre is now proposed to be utilised as a Hub location which would then mean Story Wood Children’s Centre would become a community location

 

Hall Green

You Said

We Did

Services should be retained at Muath Children’s Centre

Muath Children’s Centre is now proposed to be utilised as a community location

 

Hodge Hill

You Said

We Did

That the locations suggested are accessible to the local children and families

Therefore we propose to implement the proposed model

 

Ladywood

You Said

We Did

That there not enough places to go to access services.

An additional 8 community locations will be available in Ladywood

 

Northfield

You Said

We Did

The proposed locations were not enough and you said you were concerned about the level of closures

We are recommending keeping Merrishaw Children’s Centre open as a community location

 

Perry Barr

You Said

We Did

You were happy with the proposals

We confirmed the locations for your area.

 

Selly Oak

You Said

We Did

You said that the proposed locations would enable services to be accessed within the District. Parents who use .

 

We confirmed the locations for the area.

 

 

Parents who use Allens Croft Children’s Centre told us how much they liked this service and how valuable it had been to them. They were concerned.

 

Services are proposed to continue on a sessional basis at Allens Croft and St Bede’s Church. We will work with the parents who use Allens Croft Children’s Centre to see if this is enough to meet their needs.

 

 

Sutton Coldfield

You Said

We Did

Local children and families told us that Holland House Children’s Centre was more accessible to them than New Hall Children’s Centre.

We have swapped the venues

 

 

 

 

Services located in Mere Green were convenient and valued by local children and families. Removing these services was concerning.

 

Additional community locations have been included into the proposal for this area.

 

Yardley

You Said

We Did

Putting services at the Meadway was a bad idea as this building was due to be demolished. You said that Bordesley Green East Children’s Centre would better enable local children and families to access services

Bordesley Green East Children’s Centre will replace the Meadway as a Community Venue.