Children's centre consultation extended for a week

Halesowen News: Parents successfully campaigned to keep Tenterfields Children's Centre open. Parents successfully campaigned to keep Tenterfields Children's Centre open.

THE controversial consultation on how children’s centres in Halesowen and Cradley will be run in the future has been extended.

Parents launched a successful campaign to keep the service when the cuts were announced but Dudley Council still want help deciding the future of the centres.

The consultation, launched on November 12, was due to end on January 3 but council bosses have now extended this to January 10.

Dudley Council received over 700 responses and want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to give their views.

Councillor David Sparks, leader of the council, said: “As a community council we take pride in listening to what the people we represent have to say.

"We have listened to their views and it was clear that keeping all centres open for the foreseeable future was the tight decision."

He added: "We also made it clear that the consultation remained open as we continue to look at proposals to make the savings required given the continued reduction in government funding.

"We have extended the deadline by one week to ensure everyone has had the opportunity to have their say on the proposals.”

The council needs to save £2.3million providing the service and needs to exploring innovative ways of delivering the children’s centres services.

Councillor Tim Crumpton, cabinet member for children’s services, said: "I am delighted the council continues to get significant feedback on the current consultation on the future of Sure Start Children's Centres in Dudley, following the decision not to close any centres.

"The ongoing consultation will influence our formal proposals on how we structure and manage the children's centres in the future."

He added: “As this is such an important issue for the borough, I urge everyone who has an interest to respond to the consultation. To ensure that we give as much time as possible we will extend the response deadline from January 3 to Friday, January 10.”

From the consultation feedback, council bosses will then be in a position to develop a new model to deliver the service. This will be considered by the council’s overview scrutiny board on January 20 before a decision is taken at a meeting of the cabinet on February.

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