Oxfordshire County Council plans to close most of its 44 children’s centres and seven other units to save £8m. Eight remaining centres (likely to be Banbury, Bicester, Witney, Abingdon, Didcot, Blackbird Leys, Rose Hill/Littlemore and Barton/Sandhills) would be used to form part of a new referral service for babies to 19-year-olds.
In December 2014 A petition signed by David Cameron was presented by about 100 campaigners to the authority in a bid to save the county’s 44 centres. In December Council leader Ian Hudspeth had said he did not envisage the closure of any children’s centres stating “There was a worst case scenario about children’s centres… I said I’d listen and I think this proves that we have listened and we’ve delivered a package that’s going to be appreciated by everybody and actually means we envisage no closures.”
A campaign website has been set up here and a 38 Degrees petition here. Please contact the UNISON Branch Office in County Hall to find out how you as UNISON members can help us oppose the cuts.
The following dates are relevant for the campaign including Talking Oxfordshire events which are public meetings where people can have their say on the proposals:
(Please note Oxfordshire County Council are now advising people to register in advance – links below)
Talking Oxfordshire public consultation event at Banbury Town Hall
2nd November 2015, 7pm – 8.30pm
Talking Oxfordshire public consultation event – Regal Centre Wallingford 5th November 2015, 7pm – 8.30
Other dates important for the campaign:
Budget consultation closes. – 16 November 2015
Council Consultation Open Meetings
Wednesday 18 November from 6 – 7.30 pm at Kings Centre, Osney Mead, Oxford OX2 0ES
Monday 23 November from 6 – 7.30 pm at Didcot Civic Centre, Britwell Road, Didcot, OX11 7JN
Monday 30 November from 6 – 7.30 pm at John Paul II Centre, Webb Court, Causeway, Bicester OX26 6AW
Government Spending Review, which sets out how the government will invest in priority public services and deliver further required savings – 25 November 2105.
Council’s Performance Scrutiny Committee considers all detailed savings options and the feedback from the public and consultation responses – 17 December 2015.
Local Government Finance Settlement (House of Commons approves the annual funding for local government) – Week commencing 14 or 21 December 2015
Performance Scrutiny Committee – 16th December 2015
Cabinet agrees budget proposals. – 26 January 2016
Council agrees budget. – 16 February 2016
Letter-from-Sam-Gyimah-MP-to-Committee-on-Childrens-Centres detailing the DoE consultation on children’s centres – July 2015 . This letter is not on the DoE website.