Standing up for Sure Start

Medway Labour Group to call in Cabinet decision on Sure Start cuts

The Tory Cabinet has today approved a new cuts plan for Sure Start centres which will see six centres shut completely* and nine reduced to operating as ‘wellbeing centres’.

Medway Labour Group will call in this decision, since there has been no opportunity for either the public or elected members to scrutinise it in any detail.

The Tories played politics with vital services by withholding this ‘option G’ until the last minute. They failed to allow proper analysis of consultation responses before reaching this shameful conclusion.

Three of our Children?s Centres are rated Outstanding by Ofsted, yet under this proposal two of those will shut and the other be downgraded to satellite centre status.

Cllr Adam Price, Medway Labour Group Spokesman for Children and Young People, said:

‘This latest proposal looks to have been worked out on the back of an envelope.
‘We still don?t know what services will run where and when. There has been no consultation on this alternative plan. That is why we will call in this decision.
‘There were originally only three scenarios on the table. Medway Tories repeatedly told us that there could be no other option.
‘They dismissed our attempts to include a status quo option, yet at the eleventh hour they have pulled another cynical stunt to prevent proper scrutiny.
‘All that is clear from this muddled decision today is that six vital centres will close and 15 skilled workers will lose their jobs.
‘I am disgusted that Cllr Mackness has such little respect for the people of Medway that anyone who gets in the way of his bully boy tactics is dismissed as part of a ?mob?.
‘He says he and his Conservative colleagues stayed away from consultation events to listen in an ”unbiased” way.

‘But with such a short gap between the consultation closing and this new proposal being unveiled it raises suspicion that ‘option G’ was their plan all along.’

NOTE TO EDITORS: Despite council efforts to obscure this crucial detail, the six centres which will close entirely are Brompton-Westbrook (rated Outstanding by Ofsted and relied on by Medway’s Forces families); Burnt Oak, Gillingham; Miers Court, Rainham; Temple Mill, Strood; St Margaret’s at Troy Town, Rochester (also rated Outstanding) and Kingfisher, Princes Park.