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Hertfordshire County Council

Consultation on the future of children's centres, health visiting and school nursing services in Hertfordshire

As a County Council, we are responsible for providing a range of services for families, children and young people including:
  • children's centres
  • health visitors
  • school nurses
In autumn 2018 the council's contracts for children's centre, health visiting and school nursing services are due to finish. This means that we need to design how the service will work from 2018.

Overall, there is less money available to the Council. We know that we have some difficult decisions to make, so we need to make the best use of public money, buildings, resources and highly skilled staff. Based on your feedback, we have therefore designed a proposed model for how children's centre, health visiting and school nursing services could work in the future.

We are therefore consulting on our proposals:
  • To create a 'Family Centre' service across Hertfordshire, to bring together the services currently delivered by children's centres, health visiting and school nursing. This would improve partnership working between the services.
  • It is our intention to remove the designation of 'children centres' and to re-launch the service as Family Centres. This means that the buildings would no longer be known as "children's centres" but those buildings which are suitable would provide outreach support alongside health visiting and school nursing services under the Family Centre brand.
  • To set up a Family Centre 'hub' in each district area, where staff would all be based in the same place. The 'hub' would be the main Family Centre base in the district. Staff would use the 'hub' to deliver services for families (e.g. stay and play sessions, breastfeeding support, baby clinics) and to do their admin work. Hubs would have flexible opening hours.
  • To ensure that we deliver services locally for families by using existing children's centre buildings and venues in the community such as village halls as well as the hubs for service delivery.
  • To make sure that the most vulnerable children, young people and families are getting the support they need.
  • To enable staff to go into schools and to do home visits, when it is appropriate to do so.
  • To make the services more family friendly through enabling anyone to access services anywhere in Hertfordshire, rather than being restricted to their local area.
  • To use technology more effectively through the use of social media and online information and advice.
Please note this consultation does not include school nursing services in special schools as Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (who are part of the NHS) are responsible for commissioning (buying) this service.

For more information on our proposals, please visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/familycentreconsultation

This consultation questionnaire will take 10-20 minutes to complete.

This consultation survey will be available from Monday 17th July 2017 until Wednesday 20th September 2017.