Early Help redesign plans to go ahead

West Sussex County Council will proceed with its plans for the redesign of its Early Help services following the rejection of a call from a group of opposition members to have the plans referred back to a scrutiny committee.

The decision whether to accept a ‘call-in’ for further scrutiny of a decision is made by the Council’s Monitoring Officer who uses an agreed protocol to decide whether the referral back should happen.

Today’s decision to reject the request was based on the fact that the proposals and all supporting information had already been fully scrutinised on two occasions by the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee. The second time was just a week before the Cabinet meeting which approved the plans on Tuesday 27 July 2021 and a full report on the recommendations and comments from the Scrutiny Committee was before the Cabinet when they met.

As a result, the criteria for accepting a call in were not met.

The Monitoring Officer could not see any substance in any of the other grounds in the call-in request to justify a referral back for further consideration by the Scrutiny Committee.

Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The County Council is absolutely committed to providing an Early Help Service that is wholly focused on improving our support to the children and families who need our help the most and doing so in the way that best meets their needs.

“I would like to reiterate our thanks to everyone who took part in the 10-week public consultation on our Early Help service. Significant changes have been made in response to the feedback received which we consider will further enhance what we now plan to deliver.

“I hope we will all be able to work together to focus on the help needed by all of the children and families in West Sussex.”