Chesterfield News

Have your say about proposed changes to early help service

Residents are being urged to have their say about significant changes to Derbyshire County Council’s early help service. The public consultation started this week and will run for 6 weeks until Monday 22 October.

Early help service is support for children and young people aged up to 18 (or 25 for those with special needs or who are disabled) and their families early on when problems emerge. It may be required at any stage in life from pre-birth to adulthood and involves working with agencies to understand and support families to help them care for their children and deal with any problem they feel unable to manage on their own.

The service is currently delivered by 25 multi-agency teams (MATs) based across the county which bring together staff including education welfare, youth workers, children’s centres, family support and careers guidance working closely with schools, health visitors, GPs and community groups.

Derbyshire County Council provide a substantial Early Help Offer which is funded through their own budget and other grant schemes and changes to these arrangements have resulted in the need to review services to ensure that children and young people most in need of help continue to receive it. Their aim is to concentrate their resources on the type of activities which evidence shows support them most effectively in line with how many other authorities provide these services.

Councillor Alex Dale, Cabinet Member for Young People said:“Changes to the way our early help service is funded and a reduction in grants means we need to propose changes to concentrate our resources on children and families who need help the most and to ensure they continue to receive it.

“We also want to make sure we concentrate our resources on the type of activities which have been proven to work best for them.

“The county council currently provides a substantial early help offer but providing this kind of help is the responsibility of all public organisations including schools, not just ours, so we’re also taking this opportunity to consider more effective ways of working with partners as we look closely at all our services to ensure they’re as efficient as possible.

“For some services, including early help, this will mean taking a different approach to how they’re run or funded in future.

“With this in mind, our proposals also include supporting other organisations and the many community and voluntary groups which already provide this kind of help to families across the county.

“We’re encouraging residents to take part in our consultation and give us their views about the proposed changes which we’ll carefully consider before any decisions are made.”

The consultation will ask Derbyshire residents to give their views about proposed changes to the family support, youth support and careers elements of our early help service.

If the proposals are approved, new arrangements would not be brought in before September 2019 when support for young people currently using the service would be completed.

The closing date for responses is Monday 22 October 2018.

The Cabinet will consider a report detailing the outcome of the public consultation later this year. An equality impact assessment would also be carried out to ensure that any proposed changes to services would not discriminate against disadvantaged or vulnerable people.

To read the proposed changes in detail, provide feedback or for more information click here.

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