Suffolk County Council’s plans for the future of Children’s Centres are in chaos as a second meeting to brief councillors was cancelled at short notice.
The original meeting to brief councillors on the 24th March was cancelled at short notice and now the rescheduled meeting, which was supposed to be held last week, has also been cancelled.
Conservative Cllr Gordon Jones, has said the paper will now be presented to a meeting of the full County Council on the 17th July. This means the rules on debate are much more strict than when issues are presented to a scrutiny committee. Labour Councillors suspect the administration is running scared and is trying to stifle debate not promote it.
Labour Spokesperson for Children’s Services, Cllr Bryony Rudkin said; “The County Council meeting is the wrong forum to be scrutinising any policy, especially a policy in which we suspect the Conservative administration will be dismantling the network of children’s centres. The decision to avoid scrutiny is entirely wrong, just like closing children’s centres is wrong. There needs to be a transparent and open review of any changes to children’s centre provision to ensure we protect the services to some of the most vulnerable people in the county”.
Labour Leader on Ipswich Borough Council, Cllr David Ellesmere was also concerned about the most recent cancellation saying; “The County Council has already closed the Ormiston Children’s Centre in Ipswich, but what’s coming next could be even worse. There are clearly big disagreements in the Conservative Group over what’s being planned and the whole process appears to be descending into chaos”.