Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 14, 2016

What Future For West Lancashire Children’s Centres?

Lancashire County Council lcc is holding a further consultation on the future of two of the children’s centres in West Lancashire as part of plans to change the way frontline services are delivered and save millions of pounds by reducing the number of buildings the council owns and rents. Question, what is the cost of consultations when the only people making money from them are private consultants?

The council’s cabinet has made a decision to create a network of neighbourhood centres, and deliver services in a different way by co-locating them in the same building, to help towards the £150m savings that need to be made by 2020/21.

A public consultation was held over 12 weeks this summer on changes to a number of services, including proposals that Upholland Children’s Centre should continue to provide services for 0-11 year olds, and that St John’s Children’s Centre childrenscentre0011 in Skelmersdale should no longer be used.

The wellbeing, prevention and early help services provided from children’s centres exist to help make sure all children and young people are able to have a good start in life, offering help and support where needed at the earliest opportunity. They include services for children and their families, and young people’s services.

Feedback received during the consultation was that it would be better to swap around the proposals for the two buildings because St John’s Children’s Centre is easier for local children and their families to get to. As a result, the council’s cabinet decided that further consultation should be carried out.

The county council is now consulting on a proposal to continue to use St John’s Children’s Centre at St John’s Catholic Primary School, Flamstead, Birch Green, Skelmersdale, for services for 0-11 year olds, and to stop providing services at Upholland Children’s Centre at St Thomas the Martyr CE Primary School, Mill Lane, Up Holland.

The county council would continue to provide ‘outreach’ services in the Up Holland area, including one-to-one support that would be delivered in family homes, schools, and from other community buildings. County Councillor David Borrow davidborrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said “We have taken the decision to reshape services to ensure that people still have good access to them while allowing the council to deliver some of the huge savings we need to make in the coming years.

“The decision we made in early September about how services will be delivered in future reflected the feedback we received during the consultation and included a number of changes to the original proposals. At the same time, we decided to allow more time to consider some aspects of the proposals, and having listened to the feedback we received about these children’s centres, have decided to consult about continuing to deliver services at St John’s Children’s Centre, and no longer using Upholland Children’s Centre.

“I’m grateful for people taking the time to let us know what they think, and we’ll consider all the feedback we receive in making a decision”.

The consultation is taking place for 4 weeks from Monday 14 November to Sunday 11 December 2016. You can respond to it by picking up a questionnaire at either of the children’s centres, or online at To find out more about the property strategy search ‘changes to our buildings’ at

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