Tower Hamlets council says there will be no closures of children’s centres

Tower Hamlets council has said it will not close any children’s centres in the borough or reduce their opening hours despite cuts to their budget.

Ahead of a full council meeting on February 23 at which the council’s budget plans will be voted on, there are plans to cut �3m from the early years and children’s centres funding.

But the council said yesterday that they will not close or reduce the hours at any of the 83 locations in the borough where they provide services to children up to the age of five.

Children’s centres provide lessons for young children in skills such as basic numeracy and literacy with children able to attend for morning and afternoon sessions.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are currently reviewing the management of our children’s centres in light of the savings that need to be made to ensure that resources are focused on the needs of the community and are easily accessible.

“Savings will come, in the main, from streamlining the management of centres so we can continue to provide our excellent services for local families.”

A Tower Hamlets cabinet paper outlining the changes to be made to the service says there will be staffing reductions of 12 per cent.

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The council did not say how many of these reductions will fall on frontline staff.

There are 123.5 full time equivalent frontline posts in the service.

The Government is changing how it provides funding for early years services to local authorities. In future it is understood that an Early Intervention Grant will replace the Sure Start grant and that this funding will no longer be ring-fenced.