An anonymous parent from Bishops Cleeve has passed on the following FOI request regarding the County Council's changes to Children's Centres locally:
I have a number of questions regarding the Targeted Family Support Service and the process that was followed by Gloucestershire County Council to fundamentally change the provision that will be offered going forwards.
Are all of the Children's Centres involved within this change of provision defined as Sure Start Children's Centres, as per the statutory guidance for Children's Centres issued by Department for Education (DFE)?
Would implementation of the new Targeted Family Support Service mean that the definition of Early Childhood Services (as defined within the statutory guidance) would no longer apply going forwards?
Please can you provide details of other legislation that will no longer apply once you move to the new Targeted Family Support Service model?
Does a change in provision from a Sure Start Children's Centre to Early Childhood Services mean that going forwards Gloucestershire County Council will not be bound by other legislation; in particular Childcare Act 2006, sections; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5A, 5C, 5D, 5E and 98C?
Please can you provide further details of how the new Targeted Family Support Service will meet the current statutory duty placed upon local authorities by Section 1 of Childcare Act 2006 to improve the wellbeing of and reduce inequalities between young children?
Please can you confirm how the new model complies with Chapter 2 of the statutory guidance issued by DFE? In particular to 'ensure there are sufficient children's centres, so far as is reasonably practicable, to meet local need.'?
If it is not reasonably practicable for GCC to ensure that there are sufficient children's centres, then please explain why you believe this to be the case?
Please can you provide details of evidence gathered by GCC to demonstrate how the new model will enable you to meet your priority of reducing child poverty (Chapter 3 of statutory guidance issued by DFE)?
What actions have you taken to ensure children's centres offer differentiated support to young children and their families, according to their needs (Chapter 3 of statutory guidance issued by DFE)?
Given that the changes being made are significant and reduce services to the extent that they no longer meet the statutory definition of a Sure Start children's centre (as defined by Chapter 2 of the statutory guidance issued by DFE), please provide further details on how GCC complied with its legal duty to consult?
Please provide details on how any such consultation took into account:
Wider duties under section 17 of the Childcare Act 1989 and the Child Poverty Act 2010?
The views of local families and communities in deciding what is sufficient children's centre provision?
Families crossing local authority borders to use children's centres in their authority?
We aim to respond to your request no later than midnight on 11 April 2017 (the statutory timescale of 20 working days, starting on the working day following receipt of your request). We may need to contact you if the request needs to be clarified; this is to ensure we provide you with the information you require.
If the information you have requested is held by another public authority, we will inform you of this so that you can contact them directly.
Gloucestershire County Council is committed to the principles of information disclosure and will, wherever possible, provide all information requested. However, some information you have requested may not be provided to you; this will only be information that can be withheld by law, and, in most cases, the reason will be explained to you when we send out any information that can be released. We will also inform you as soon as possible if we do not hold the information you have requested.
Our response to your request may be published in our disclosure log, with your personal details removed. Our new disclosure log can be found on our website at: www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/foi<http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/foi>. In future, you may find that the answer to your questions about the Council has already been published.