This page aims to keep you updated on key feedback received from families using this site and what we're doing to respond to comments and suggestions.
It's also a place from which you can find out about recent consultations that have taken place as well as any open consultations being understaken by the Children & Familes Section at Ealing Council.
To view Ealing Council's other consultations, please visit the Council's consultation page.
Ealing's Children's Centre consultation opened on 22nd February 2019 and closed on 17th May 2019. In all, we achieved 1800 responses from residents and families who use the children’s centres.
The consultation was open to the general public and made possible through 40 face-to-face consultation sessions held at children’s centres as well as an online survey and a printed questionnaire.
Background to the consultation
Ealing Council, along with most local authorities, is facing the toughest financial challenges in recent times. Our government grant has been reduced by £143.7m, equivalent to a reduction of 64% over the past 10 years.
To ensure the best outcome for residents, which is a priority to us (in keeping with our Future Ealing programme), we had to review how we provide services in future.
Since 2010 around 1000 children’s centres across the country have had to close. Fortunately, here in Ealing, we’ve managed to maintain and develop all our 27 children’s centres – one of the highest numbers amongst London Boroughs.
Why we consulted
As part of council savings, it was proposed that over the next couple of years, £808,000 of savings could be made through the Ealing children’s centre budget.
We asked for the public’s views on the proposals made about how children’s centre services may change across the borough. Our draft Strategy for Ealing Children’s Centres (2019-22) sets these out.
Although government cuts forced us to consider changes to our children’s centres – we were determined to minimise the disruption of services and access to the children’s centres.
Within our draft Ealing children's centre strategy (2019-22), we looked at:
Keeping open and accessible, the centres which serve the greatest number of children and families; particularly those supporting families on very low incomes; living in identified areas of disadvantage.
Maintaining early childhood health services through centres, such as midwifery and Early Start Ealing - our integrated health visiting service.
Continuing to ensure that vulnerable children and those who have the greatest needs are well supported.
Increasing the childcare available in centres that are being re-organised; where other services are being reduced or stopped.
Making services run more efficiently now and in the future.
Ensuring effective, preventative support and early intervention through close-working with professionals from different services and agencies.
Once the consultation closed
Once the consultation closed, the work really started, pulling together the views of 1800 people.
A report was produced outlining the themes that emerged following the consultation and the need for centres within our borough.
‘One Roof All Things’ provides a summary of the feedback we received on the proposed changes, including testimonials from those who use children centres and the experiences they have had in their journey.
Followed by publication of the Have Your Say: Results of the 2019 Children's Centres Consultation which looks at the responses of 500 parents and residents.
Key summary of results
Due to the strength of responses received, a revised strategy was agreed by Ealing Council on Tuesday 16th July which significantly reduced the amount of money the council was looking to save through re-arranging children’s centres services, originally proposed as £808,000.
The Council have now agreed to:
· Keep our 7 main children’s centres: Islip Manor, South Acton, Hanwell, Grove House, Perivale, Log Cabin and the Academy Gardens Locality;
· Keep our 9 linked children’s centres: Grange, Greenfields, Hathaway, John Perryn, Limetrees, Maples, Petts Hill and St John’s (Jubilee);
· Keep a further 9 of the 11 linked children’s centres that were facing substantial re-organisation or closure, whilst making a total saving of £218,000 made up from a 24% reduction in these centres’ budgets: Acton Park, Copley Close, Dormers Wells, Havelock, Horsenden, Northolt Park, Windmill, Windmill Park and West Twyford.
· Close 2 of our linked children’s centres: North Ealing and Wood End.
Wood End and North Ealing children’s centres will close at the end of March 2020. We will work with families in these areas to ensure they have access to a nearby centre or where possible, organise children’s centre activities to run a reduced but regular service at local community settings. We will visit these centres to talk to parents and families about how best we can support them locally; and help them engage with what is available in the area.
What happens next?
An Ealing Children’s Centres Advisory Board has been put together to cover the network of centres. And it is so important to have the voices of parents and families heard at these meetings. If you use a children’s centre and would like to be involved in any way, please speak to staff at your local centre.