Consultation launched on proposed changes to services and support for Children and Families

Somerset County Council is seeking views on proposals to change the support it provides to some children and families.

The proposals would stop the Council’s getset Service contribution to support for families needing a little extra help – usually short-term – to tackle a particular problem and get back on track.

Support provided by other organisations for families in this position would not be affected by the proposals, nor would the Council’s support for families with more serious issues and challenges.

Being consulted on over the next eight weeks, the proposals include a £200,000 start-up fund to support community groups to increase and develop their support to families.

The consultation, which ends on 31 December, is open to anyone who has an interest. Documents explaining the proposals in more detail can be found online www.somerset.gov.uk/getsetconsultation along with a questionnaire to complete to share your views.

Questionnaires are also available in libraries and Family Centres around the county, and at information drop-in sessions that have been arranged for people to discuss the proposals and share their views.

At present getset supports families who need a little extra help by:

  • Organising and attending 39 of the estimated 427 parenting support groups that take place across the county.
  • Providing one-to-one support for individual families – at any one time around 299 families are supported in this way.

Both these aspects of the Council’s support would stop if the proposals are taken forward.

The getset one-to-one support for families with more significant issues would continue as usual, as would the support from the Council’s Children with Disabilities Team, Special Education Needs and Disabilities Team and Community Adolescent Team.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “This is a subject we know lots of people will have an interest in and we want to hear from as many people as possible, so their views can be taken on board when a decision is made.

“It will be a difficult decision for the Council, but the financial pressures we are under are well documented. We have to find ways of living within our means, and that means considering savings in all areas.

“It’s important that people remember that the council is not the only organisation that provides this kind of early help support for families.  And it is important to remember too that the support we provide when families have more serious difficulties would not be affected.”

The Council’s Cabinet agreed to go to consultation on these services when it met in September to consider a range of savings proposals aimed at addressing the authority’s financial pressures.

The results will be used to inform a decision by Cabinet scheduled for February on whether or not to proceed with the proposals.

Information drop-in sessions, open to anyone who wishes to take part in the consultation, will take place at the locations below:

  • Tuesday 13 November. 10am-6pm. Glastonbury Library, 1 Orchard Court, The Archers Way, Glastonbury, BA6 9JB
  • Wednesday 14 November. 10am-12pm. The Key Centre, Feltham Lane, Frome, BA11 5AJ
  • Wednesday 14 November. 1-6pm. Frome Library, Justice Lane, Frome, BA11 1BE
  • Monday 19 November. 10am-6pm. The Hub, Minehead, Hopcott Road, Minehead, TA24 6DJ
  • Thursday 22 November. 10am-6pm. Taunton Library, Paul Street, TA1 3XZ
  • Wednesday 28 November. 10am-6pm. Victoria Park Community Centre, Victoria Park Drive, Bridgwater, TA6 7AS
  • Tuesday 4 December. 10am-6pm. Yeovil Methodist Church, Vicarage Walk, Middle Street, BA20 1JZ