Children's Centres offer services for children and families, providing early years education and childcare, health services and family support, all under one roof.
They are a service hub within the community for parents and providers of childcare services for children of all ages - offering a base for childminder networks and a link to other day care provision, out of school clubs and extended schools.
They provide a warm, welcoming atmosphere where families are provided with services that help them: be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution; achieve economic well being.
Children's Centres also have links with local training and education providers, Jobcentre Plus and Families' Information Services.
Children's Centres Commissioning
Over the summer, Council Members looked at the issue of Children’s Centres in detail, as part of wider work carried out by the Member-led Commission looking at Early Years.
In September, the Council’s Cabinet agreed to go ahead with the commissioning process for all 21 Children’s Centres. Informed by the work of the Early Years Commission, Members agreed a way forward that would be underpinned by the following principles:
- No Children’s Centre in Calderdale will close but the offer in each Centre will have to adapt to make the best use of the available resource;
- Daycare will continue to be an important way in which the Children’s Centres improve outcomes for children, but how the daycare is offered may change in order to minimise cost and maximise effectiveness and efficiency;
- Children’s Centres will continue to provide services for all Calderdale’s children; vulnerable children will still be a priority within this.
Bids will be invited from voluntary and independent providers to run Children’s Centres in Calderdale from 1st July 2014.
The current service provision and management in Children’s Centres will continue until 30th June 2014.
There are three key stages to the commissioning process:
- The Pre Qualification Questionnaire stage
This is where we ask all potential bidders to fill out a questionnaire, checking that they meet minimum standards around experience, references and safeguarding.
All questionnaires had to be back to us in November. We are currently assessing the questionnaires we have received.
- The Bidding Stage
Then we ask the organisations who met the standard at the first stage to put in a full bid. We will be getting in touch with those organisations in January 2014 to ask them to put in a bid. Bids will have to come back to us will be around the end of February.
- The Contract Award and Mobilisation Stage
We will evaluate all the bids and decide who should be awarded the contracts. We aim to award the contract by mid-April 2014 at the latest.
The new contracts will start on 1st July 2014.
This is a competitive process, so we are unable to give out details on what bidders will be asked to deliver, or how we will score their bids. However, we can provide information on the service we want delivered and the process we will use to score it. This will include issues that people have told us they were concerned about. We also want to make sure that the things that are really good about the service in Calderdale continue and get even better and this is included too.
Once we are able to announce who has been awarded the contracts, we will put information here on our website and in the newsletters that are sent out from Children’s Centres.
If you would like further information or have any queries, please contact:
- Naomi Whenham
- 01422 392817
- Children and Young People's Services
Halifax HX1 1UN.