Decision details

Hillingdon's 0-19 yrs Core Offer to Children, Young people and their Families

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes




That the Cabinet: 


1.    Notes the findings, considers the responses from the comprehensive public consultation and has due regard to the Equalities Impact Assessments which have informed the proposed final Family Hubs strategy;


2.    Notes the findings, considers the responses from the comprehensive public consultation and has due regard to the Equalities Impact Assessments which have informed the proposed option for the delivery of childcare in the early years nurseries;


3.    Agrees the Family Hub Strategy as set out in Appendix A for implementation from October 2023;


4.    Agrees the use of council assets for the delivery of Family Hub services as set out in Table 1 of the report and agrees the children’s centre sites that are surplus to requirements and will close with no reduction in service as set out in Table 2 of the report;


5.    Agrees to enable the continued delivery of childcare at Nestles Avenue, South Ruislip and Uxbridge Early Years Centres by securing an alternative provider(s) from the childcare market, as set out in this report;


6.    Agrees to receive a further report back to determine future provision for the nurseries;


7.    Agrees to support the development of the childcare market in Hillingdon to manage sufficiency in line with the new Early Education entitlements effective April 2024.


Reasons for decision


In March 2023, Cabinet had agreed to commence a 12-week public consultation on the draft Family Hub Strategy and the future of the children centres, along with a second public consultation to seek residents’ views on options for the delivery of childcare in the Council’s early years nurseries.


On the proposed new Family Hub delivery model, the Leader of the Council outlined the rationale for establishing them, referencing the experience of the Council’s first family hub at the Civic Centre which was opened a year or so ago.


It was remarked that families wanted to be able to access integrated help early and locally, and that it was important for public services to identify early needs to prevent such needs escalating and also to be able to sign-post families to a broader support services.


The findings of the independent review of children's social care in 2022 and an Ofsted thematic inspection were noted, along with Government policy which was to establish family hubs in each local authority area to deliver the start for life and healthy child programmes. It was noted that the Council was ahead of Government policy on this, having already established a family hub.


The Leader explained that the new family hubs would provide a single point of access, would be grounded in local communities and would provide a range of core and flexible services through a hub-and-spoke model, with the expected provision of a broader range of professional services than presently provided by the current children's centres. It was noted that the consultation on the new model of family hub provision was undertaken by an independent organisation, and whilst a number of respondents had opposed the closure of the children's centres identified in the report, the consultation also showed strong support for the overall idea of family hubs and the range of proposed services to be delivered from them, particularly by families with children with special education needs or disabilities.


The Leader affirmed the Council’s commitment to deliver the new hubs and to monitor this, invited a request by the Children, Families and Education Select Committee to review its implementation in 2024/25.


In respect of the public consultation on the future of the Council’s three early years centres, it was noted that since the matter had previously been considered by Cabinet, the Government had announced the expansion of the entitlement to free nursery places, which was expected to increase demand. As the scale of demand of this was unknown, the Leader explained that it would not be appropriate to close the centres at this time and that the best route forward would be to seek alternative providers to continue nursery provision at the centres and that a further report would be brought back to Cabinet to make a decision on this.


Cabinet duly considered the responses to the two consultations, their findings and also the equalities impact assessments undertaken and in considering all relevant factors, agreed to approve the recommendations in the report.


Alternative options considered and rejected


Cabinet could have decided to maintain the current model of children centre service delivery, but considered that this would not be in the best interests of residents, not responsive to their changing needs or reflect national policy.


On the early years centres, the Leader of the Council explained that another option would have been to increase the fees for them, but that it was considered for the Council to deliver a full cost recovery model and remove the current subsidy, parental fees would need to be increased substantially which would have resulted in them being higher than the market rate.


Relevant Select Committee

Children, Families & Education

Expiry date for any scrutiny call-in / date decision can be implemented (if no call-in)

5pm, Friday 22 September 2023

Officer(s) to action

Claire Fry / Sandra Taylor


Adult Services & Health


Public - The report and any background papers relating to this decision by the Cabinet are available to view on the Council's website or by visiting the Civic Centre, Uxbridge.



Publication date: 15/09/2023

Date of decision: 14/09/2023

Decided at meeting: 14/09/2023 - CABINET

Effective from: 23/09/2023

Accompanying Documents: