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Bucks children's centre cuts put on hold

Cuts to Buckinghamshire’s children centres have been put on hold following outrage at the council’s plans.

The Bucks County Council (BCC) proposal to replace the 35 centres with nine hubs has been heavily criticised by campaigners, who raised concerns about safeguarding and confidentiality.

BCC described it as moving to a new ‘Early Help service’ and public meetings have been held about the plans.

On Wednesday, March 28, a spokesman for the council said: “As a result of these conversations, the council wants to do more to capture the views of residents and local families before implementing the new service and will be carrying out a further public consultation in the next few months.

“As such, the council will not be implementing the decision made by cabinet on January 8 2018 in relation to moving to the new service.”

Cabinet member for children’s services Warren Whyte said: “We recognise the strength of feeling amongst families and the local community about the changes we are proposing and want to continue to have these discussions. Therefore, we will consult further with residents.

“No further public meetings will take place for the time being, and we expect to publicise new dates for these as part of the new consultation process.

“I hope residents and families will feel reassured that we are listening to their concerns and want to work with them to shape the support for families going forward.”

Alka Dass, lead campaigner from Save Bucks Children’s Centres, reiterated that the group wanted the process to be ‘stopped altogether’.

She said: “I as well as many of our campaigners are extremely pleased that Bucks County Council has decided to put the process on hold and consult further with residents.

“One needs to ask why at this stage they have decided to do this and have a new consultation process, however whatever the reasons, we are glad that they will re-think this through.”

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