Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham children's centres could face cuts in shake up

Schoolchildren generic Image copyright PA
Image caption Most services at the centres, such as family support, health services and play groups, would become "floating" facilities, under the proposals

The number of children's centres across Birmingham could be cut from 70 to 10.

The idea is most of the services the centres provide, such as family support, health services and play groups, would become "floating" facilities.

It is proposed Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will take over the running instead of 76 different contracts currently in place.

Some parents have expressed concern and say "floating" facilities cannot work.

More updates on this story

John Taylor, a parent governor at Allens Croft Children's Centre in Kings Heath, which could be one of the centres affected, said "messing up" the routine of potentially vulnerable children would cause them problems.

He said the centre provided outstanding services to children and he questioned how consistent staff would be using a "floating" system.

The council's children's services has been given an inadequate rating since 2008 and has been branded a "national disgrace".

However, a report issued last week said services were improving.

Councillor Brigid Jones, cabinet member in charge of children's services, said the new system would improve things further.

'Healthy lifestyles'

As well as the 10 big, wellbeing centres, community venues such as churches, mosques, and nurseries would also be used.

GP surgeries would run well-baby clinics, she said.

"Rather than different centres and different professionals picking up on a concern and recording them on different systems, we are to going to have one system across all of the city," she said.

Gareth Howells, director of nursing and therapies at the community healthcare trust, said the trust's role would be to ensure children aged up to five led healthy lifestyles and were ultimately kept safe.

A 60-day consultation on the plans is now under way.

GMB regional organiser Gillian Ogilvie said: "These plans are absolutely disgraceful - and a shocking indictment of austerity Britain.

"The GMB is calling on the council to try and prevent these closures and demand more money from the government to ensure vital support for parents and families are provided."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites