Against all the advice from experts, and despite evidence that says they provide a cost-effective service, it looks like the Council will press ahead with plans to close the remaining children’s centres in Swindon.
The Council’s consultation suggests that ‘there has been no obvious impact on social care from the closures’ but they’ve done nothing to measure it. How “obvious” would the impact be on a child until years later when they end up relying on support from social welfare agencies?
An important aspect is the ability of families to just drop-in to access the service, which makes them empowered rather than stigmatised. How many of the children exposed to domestic violence, or from the poorest households in Swindon, will lose out because they will not longer be able to access the Centres?
According to Paul Sunners from Swindon Green Party, an analysis of the Performance Overview 2015 data shows that the current provision offers ‘best value’ in terms of the preventative work undertaken with children and families.
The closures will rob Swindon’s most vulnerable of a vital lifeline – the effects of which, for them, will last a lifetime.