Category Archives: Children’s Services

Suffolk County Council unanimously backs Autism support motion

A motion to investigate how the council can improve diagnostics and support for those suffering with Autism/ ADHD spectrum disorders has been unanimously passed at the Suffolk County Council meeting on 7th December 2017.

The motion called on the County Council to refresh its autism strategy and explore ways of improving the diagnosis times for those suffering from the condition as well as providing more support for those who need it.

Continue reading Suffolk County Council unanimously backs Autism support motion

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Conservatives vote against childcare help motion

Labour councillors today proposed a motion to a meeting of Suffolk County Council calling on the administration to help beleaguered childcare providers. The motion was rejected by Conservative councillors, despite this being an election promise.

The motion called on the administration to lobby government to change the Early Years Funding Formula and provide more money for Childcare providers as they seek to provide 30 hours free childcare across the county, but Conservatives thought it better to vote against Labour rather than support the motion whose sole purpose was to help childcare providers.

Continue reading Conservatives vote against childcare help motion

No move on primary school obesity

Following figures released today that show that the levels of obesity in Suffolk have not improved over the last 12 months Labour’s Cllr Helen Armitage has made the following statement.

“This is a shocking state of affairs that is going to limit the life chances of the children in Suffolk and something that must be combatted. Continue reading No move on primary school obesity

Helen Armitage’s Speech on Children’s Service during Budget debate

In July last year, a DfE report looked into cost effectiveness and value for money of children’s centres and showed the link between the services offered and reductions in public spending on truancy, school exclusions, special educational needs, youth and adult crime, mental health problems, and welfare benefits.

The report also highlighted the link between use of children’s centres and higher educational attainment and higher future earnings for the children and their parents.

Children’s centres have the potential to make a massive difference to the lives of children and their families, yet across Suffolk there are areas where families simply can’t access these highly valuable services.

The DfE report clearly states that ‘the benefit of children’s centres in monetary terms has the greatest impact on the public purse in terms of future savings to required spending’.

Children’s centres are a resource that should be increased and built upon to save the council money in the future, we need to invest in them and the children that use them as one of the most cost efficient services that we can offer.

In December, we brought you evidence showing how respite care and a ‘Short Breaks’ service for families with children on the edge of care can and is saving councils millions of pounds a year through reducing the number of children in care, not to mention helping to improve the futures of countless children and their families.

We, as a council, agreed that it would be investigated as a measure to bring down demand for Children & Young People services and to make savings, but this doesn’t appear to be included on the budget.

I hope that I’m wrong and there is a ring-fenced amount of reserves to operate this service if it is proved suitable and cost effective for Suffolk.

As it stands, the Family Assessment Support Team is our only service dedicated to reducing the number of children in care, yet in January this year it was reported that the team is attempting to operate with half of its social worker posts vacant.

We understand the difficulties in recruiting social workers and that we have about 30 social worker vacancies across Suffolk, but it is hard for us to believe that you are serious about reducing demand for children’s services when the early intervention services that we have to do this are simply not working properly.

The budget that the administration has presented to us seems far too concerned with short term cuts and goals, when we need to be thinking long term in order to make the services sustainable.

There is overwhelming evidence produced by independent and government groups showing how preventative and early intervention services are more cost effective in the long run, but we seem to be stuck in a cycle of short term measures and short sighted cuts.

We need to stop thinking in terms of 2-3 years down the line and invest now in preventative and early intervention services to save the County Council money in the longer term future.

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Labour wins Children and Adolescent Mental health service motion

Labour councillors today unanimously won a motion at a meeting of Suffolk County Council calling on the administration to use all their influence to improve the provision of Children and Adult Mental Health Services in the county.
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Children’s Centres – Open letter to the Suffolk County Council Cabinet

Dear Cabinet members

When the County’s Labour Councillors decided to call in your previous decision to Scrutiny, we did so with a very real hope that you might change that decision, either fully or in part. We had hoped that we could encourage you to take seriously the purpose for which Children’s Centres were created in the first place.
Continue reading Children’s Centres – Open letter to the Suffolk County Council Cabinet

Cllr Sandy Martin Budget amendment speech

This budget is about the money that this Council has to spend and the ways in which it decides to spend it or not spend it. But the important issue is not the money itself but the effect that it has on people’s lives. We are not bringing this amendment because we have a pathological hatred of financial reserves, but because we have a deep-seated hatred of ill health, and poor education, and unsafe situations for children, and freezing homes for elderly people, and the despair that goes with a life where everything seems to be getting worse. And we resent seeing the Council sit on the financial means to deal with those issues, but do less and less each year.
Continue reading Cllr Sandy Martin Budget amendment speech

Labour win Children’s Centre scrutiny call in

Labour Councillors are delighted at the news that they have successfully challenged the decision by the Conservative administration to close nine children’s centres in Suffolk.

The decision means that the decision will have to be looked at again by the Cabinet and a halt will be called to the closure of the children’s centres in the short term.
Continue reading Labour win Children’s Centre scrutiny call in

Labour Challenges Children’s Centre Closure Decision

The Labour Group on Suffolk County Council have challenged the decision by the Conservatives on Suffolk County Council to close nine children’s centres by identifying a key document that was not presented to the Cabinet before their decision was taken.
Official Department of Education guidance which states that there should not be a presumption to close children’s centres was not presented to the Cabinet. The second ground on which the decision is being reviewed is that the criteria for choosing which centres are to be closed is not clear in the papers presented to them.
Continue reading Labour Challenges Children’s Centre Closure Decision

County Council Confirms Children’s Centres Closures

Labour Councillors and other campaigners were left angry and disappointed after the Conservative administration on Suffolk County Council voted to close nine children’s centres despite a very vocal protest from parents outside the council offices and impassioned pleas from councillors on all sides of the political landscape inside the council chamber.
Continue reading County Council Confirms Children’s Centres Closures