42 LBB Maintained Nurseries Transformation Options Report PDF 636 KB
The report outlined options explored for the future provision of the Local Authority’s directly delivered nursery provision at Blenheim and Community Vision nurseries which were located in the Children and Family Centres at Blenheim and Penge respectively. Additional information comprising an initial response from the UNITE Union responding to the proposals for both nurseries and Ward Member views in respect of Community Vision nursery was tabled for Members’ consideration and time was allowed for the documents to be reviewed by Members.
The Head of Schools, Early Years and Adult Education advised that she had recently met with staff at Blenheim nursery and that main concerns raised with regard to the proposed closure was how posts would be transferred to Community Vision nursery, including TUPE protection, and the possibility of redundancies. Staff had suggested Blenheim nursery be retained with reduced opening hours and had expressed concern that their views had not been listened to in previous consultations, including about recruitment delays which had primarily been due to the low standards of applications for certain posts. In response to a question from a Member, the Head of Schools, Early Years and Adult Education explained that an intensive piece of work had been undertaken to assess the impact of closing Blenheim nursery and it had been identified that there were sufficient nursery places in the local area at a comparable cost.
1) The Committee’s views on the proposal that management seek to outsource the provision of early years education and childcare at Community Vision Nursery be noted. This proposal would be subject to soft market testing and a full staff and public consultation, the findings of which would be subject to further scrutiny by the Children, Education and Families PDS Committee prior to a Portfolio Holder decision being made whether or not to proceed to the open market; and,
2) The Council’s Executive be recommended to:
· Agree to proceed to formal staff and public consultation on a proposal to close the Council nursery located in Blenheim Children and Family Centre. The proposal would include that the service is decommissioned from 31 March 2023 and that staff currently employed to work at Blenheim Nursery are permanently relocated to the Council nursery at Community Vision, Penge; and,
· Delegate authority to implement any proposed closure to the Director of Education in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Families, having considered the outcome of the consultation period.