New proposals for part of the County Council’s getset Service were discussed this morning.
Following a public consultation, the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee heard that the revised approach would see getset continue to provide some of its support for families with additional needs until March next year.
Between now and March 2020, the service would follow through with all the families currently receiving one-to-one support, then concentrate on continuing to deliver group sessions and key parenting programmes for families needing a little extra help, usually short-term, to tackle a problem and get back on track.
Over the same period, officers would work with key partners such as health, police, district councils and the voluntary sector to encourage and develop the wider availability of this kind of support for families in this position.
The proposals include an annual £200k fund to invest in supporting community groups so they can deliver these kinds of services and helping them access other funding, as well as improving advice for children and families and practitioners who work with families.
Support provided by other organisations for families in this position would not be affected, nor would the Council’s support for families with more serious issues and challenges, or the support from the Council’s Children with Disabilities Team, Special Education Needs and Disabilities Team and Community Adolescent Team.
An eight-week consultation on proposals to end the getset contribution to Level 2 services closed at the end of December. It saw more than 700 people share their views, many of who raised concerns about the potential impact.
“We know this is of interest to a lot of people and I thank everyone who took part in the consultation,” said Councillor Frances Nicholson, Cabinet member for Children and Families.
“The financial realities have changed and the way we do things also has to change, but we also have to listen. We are determined that early help in Somerset will provide the support families need and these revised proposals take on board concerns about an abrupt end to the getset contribution to this kind of support.
“It’s important to remember that the council is not the only organisation that provides this kind of early help support for families, there are many partners and organisations involved. Over the next 12 months we believe we can encourage help others, particularly in the voluntary sector and in communities, to deliver this kind of support.
“This is already working in some parts of the county and we think there is potential for this community-based support to grow and attract other funding sources, becoming an effective and sustainable alternative.
“It’s also important to remember too that the support we provide when families have more serious difficulties would not be affected.”
Cabinet will consider the proposals on 11 February and decide whether to take them forward.
The consultation on original proposals to end the getset Service’s contribution to support for families with additional needs closed on 31 December. Full details of those original proposals can be found on the council’s website www.somerset.gov.uk/getsetconsultation
Details of the revised proposals can be found here http://democracy.somerset.gov.uk/documents/s9453/2019%2001%2025%20Scrutiny%20Report%20re%20CAF14b%20getset%20public%20consultation%20v2.0.pdf