Dudley Borough Council is currently consulting on plans to close the centres in a bid to make savings of £2.3 million on its children’s centre budget.
Under the council’s proposals, the remaining 13 children’s centres would be linked together into four ‘clusters’ to reduce management and administrative costs. There be would a ‘main centre’ or ‘hub’ and ‘linked centres’ or ‘satellites’.
The council document states that each cluster would have a manager responsible for the three or four children’s centres in the cluster.
All staff would be based at the ‘hub’ children’s centre, but work throughout the cluster offering services at the ‘satellite’ centres.
Other plans include reducing hours at some of the ‘satellite’ children’s centres. According to the council, research shows that the use of centres after 3pm is limited.
Councillor Tim Crumpton, cabinet member of children’s services and lifelong learning, said, ‘We have launched a consultation process that is open and honest. We face unprecedented cuts in funding across all of our public services and it is with a great deal of sadness that we are putting forward proposals to reduce the number of children’s centres and the service that we provide.
‘This is not a course of action that any of us in the cabinet would want to take but the cuts of million pounds in funding to the council mean we face extremely difficult decisions.
‘This consultation proposal is not set in stone and gives everyone who has any interest in the extremely valuable service provided by the staff in these centres the opportunity to comment.
‘I will be meeting staff and users at every one of the 20 centres and will be inviting all local councilors to join me at the centres that serve their wards.’
Dudley Borough Council is the third local authority this month to announce proposals to close some of its children’s centres.