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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Twelve jobs to be cut as Kirklees Council redesigns children’s respite services

The council will be taking a more community-based approach which it says worked well during the pandemic

Twelve jobs are set to be cut across Kirklees Council’s short break and respite services for children and young people, as the local authority looks to make a £400k saving.

The council currently provides a range of services which provide short breaks, activities and overnight respite for children and young people and their families and carers. Going forward, Kirklees will be taking a more community-based approach, as was approved by Cabinet earlier this week.

While most of the provision is based at fixed buildings, during the Covid-19 pandemic, support was provided in the communities where those children and families lived. The council says that this approach allowed for a more personalised service and resulted in many families changing the way they wish to receive respite, short break and activity provision.

To make way for the new model, the Young People’s Activity Team, which provides community and building-based activity to children, will be moving out of its “outdated” premises at Havelock Street, Ravensthorpe, and instead, move into Orchard View – a residential home at Mirfield with eight beds. Here, the two services will be temporarily co-located.

Cllr Viv Kendrick. Image: LDRS

The changes will result in the loss of 12 Full-Time Equivalent roles, seven of which are currently vacant. A report to Cabinet states that due to the “highly skilled nature of staff”, there’s a good chance that those who lose their jobs will be redeployed elsewhere. This was emphasised by Cabinet Member for Children, Cllr Viv Kendrick, who assured members that “We are confident that deployment is available for all staff”.

Following the meeting, Cllr Kendrick said: “Children using the short breaks service have a range of different needs – such as autism, social and communication difficulties, and speech and language difficulties – and we want to support all of them in having the best start in life.

“The changes will improve people’s access to these important services, which are not just vital to children and young people but are also highly valued by their families.

“We need to meet the changing needs and wishes of our families and this was reinforced by the consultation feedback. Each family’s circumstances are unique and, through the new model, bespoke plans will be developed and different options considered.

“We want existing services to work together more closely, helping the vulnerable in a way that’s also the most effective use of resources. Support for each child will be personalised and they will benefit from a range of experiences.

“The council will continue offering high-quality overnight respite where appropriate. Overall, our aim is for children to experience support and activities which enhance their lives, meet identified health and wellbeing needs and developing greater independence.”

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