What now for children services and early intervention in Oxfordshire?
JANUARY 21, 2020
An emotionally-charged meeting of Oxfordshire County Council saw councillors stop midway through to hammer out a compromise on how they would make more than £69m of savings after a series of impassioned speeches from the public.
Unite members from the South East 6272 Community Youth Workers and Not for Profit Branch, working in Oxfordshire's children's centres and Early intervention Service campaigned alongside 200 community campaigners, including David Cameron's aunt, outside County Hall to protest against proposals contained in Oxfordshire County Council's budget for 2016-17.
It was feared that the planned budget cuts would put 420 highly skilled jobs are at risk and remove vital support services for children, young people and their parents.
An emotionally charged meeting of Oxfordshire County Council saw councillors stop midway through to hammer out a compromise on how they would make more than £69m of savings after a series of impassioned speeches from the public and after hours of negotiations between parties, the deal reached saw the Conservatives unite with Labour and Liberal Democrats to pass a budget that temporarily held back £3m of cuts to elderly day services and £2m that would have been cut from early intervention.
So despite good news, the fate of Oxfordshire’s children’s centres and early intervention hubs is still unclear, as there is still £6m to be cut over the next four years.
Members of the Unite union employed in early intervention at the council are currently staging a 24-hour strike in protest at the plans.
Dave Ricketts, who works at the Abingdon early intervention hub spoke at the full council meeting and his input can be viewd here:
After the vote to accept the amended budget he said: "It's going to be pretty depressing for people to go out there every day committed to working with our families and young people, and feeling that energy to do a good job knowing the cloud of redundancy is hanging over them, so it's pretty dire."
The fight will go on to protect members jobs and to protect the vital services for children and young people.