The report before Members detailed the Councillor Call for Action request of Councillor Tele Lawal. The Member had requested the Sub-Committee scrutinise ‘the Children Centre Re-design recommendations following a Public Consultation’ that was undertaken between June and September 2019.
The grounds for the Councillor Call for Action were as follows:
· That the Council ran a consultation on proposed changes to the way that Children's Centres and Libraries operated in the London Borough of Havering.
· That the Council planned to close the following Children’s Centres; Chippenham Road, Hilldene, Ingrebourne and Rainham Village. The proposal stated that activities would be moved to community venues and the three other children’s centres in the borough.
· It was stated that residents and ward Member were concerned by the proposals which will close Children’s Centres in deprived areas where they are urgently needed. A review by the Council found that 60% of children who live in the most deprived areas were not seen at Children’s Centres in 2017/18.
· That the data suggested that the Council's outreach and publicity needed to be improved. I believe dispersing activities across the borough will mean that many lower and working-class families will be unable/struggle to access services, due to low pay, insecure work, changes to their benefit, health issues, time and travel constraints.
· That research suggested that what happens in a child’s early years had a defining impact on their life chances, educational attainment, economic security and health. Havering Council should be investing in Children’s Centres. Ii was the belief that early intervention and prevention were always cheaper than a cure.
· The request was for the review of the proposal in order to ensure children living in Harold Hill and Rainham were not adversely affected by the changes, which was the fear.
· In addition, as the decision was being brought forward due to reduced funding from Central Government, the Call for Action was to also encourage the Cabinet Member to write to the Secretary of State about the impact of cuts to early years provision.