Oxfordshire county council’s U-turn on the threat to children’s centres and early intervention services (EIS) has been given ‘a ‘cautious’ welcome by Unite, the country’s largest union.
Following a county-wide campaign involving Unite, parents and community groups, the council now says it ‘does not envisage closures for any children’s centres or early intervention facilities’. Frontline services will be maintained by ‘innovative ways’ to save money.
Unite branch secretary David Ricketts said today (Friday 6 December): “We give a cautious welcome to this significant reversal in policy by the council. However, there is no room for complacency as this now goes through the council’s committee structure before being debated by the full council in February.
“I would like to thank all those who have and continue to take part in the campaign to protect these vital services for families and children. Public pressure has played a big part in this U-turn, including letters to all the county’s MPs, including David Cameron.”
The council had planned that the seven EIS hubs – Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Didcot, East Oxford, Littlemore and Witney – and the seven satellites would be reduced to just three hubs.
In 2011, the council closed many of its youth clubs and cut specialist services to introduce what it described as a ‘more progressive, indicative and cost effective way of delivering frontline services’. Two years later over half of these new EIS hubs came under threat – but this has now been reversed.
For further information contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.