Agenda and draft minutes

Petition Hearing - Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education - Tuesday, 1st November, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW. View directions

Note: You can watch the petition hearing live on the Council's YouTube channel - 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest in matters coming before this meeting


There were no declarations of interest.


To confirm that the business of the meeting will take place in public


It was confirmed that all items were in Part I and would be considered in public.



To consider the report of the officers on the following petitions received:

Please note that individual petitions may overrun their time slots.  Although individual petitions may start later than advertised, they will not start any earlier than the advertised time.


The Cabinet Member confirmed to those in attendance that the petition hearing was a meeting held in public but not a public meeting per se; those who were scheduled to speak at the hearing had been identified in advance and notified of their right to speak.


It was noted that the petitions being discussed were considered ‘Borough-wide Petitions’ and as such, they were not ward specific and councillors did not have an automatic right to speak. However, the Cabinet Member confirmed that they would allow ward councillors, if present, to speak from the three wards containing Council run Early Years Centres, these were Pinkwell, Uxbridge and South Ruislip.


It was also noted that, following the publication of the petition hearing agenda on 24 October 2022, the Council had received a further 94 paper petition signatures in support of the first petition highlighted in the officers report.


Petitions in Relation to the Council's Direct Early Years Provision pdf icon PDF 643 KB


The Cabinet Member welcomed all who were present to the hearing and briefly ran through the petition hearing process, further to this they introduced the officers present to assist with the hearing.


The first petition organiser was present and addressed the Cabinet Member. Within their address, the petition organiser raised a number of matters, these points included:


  • It was stated that the service had been running at a deficit since 2017 and one of the primary factors in that deficit was inoccupancy of the service. The petition organiser queried what measures had been taken in that time to address the inoccupancy issues and what steps had been taken to recoup the deficit.
  • The petition organiser queried the timing of the initial decision to cease provision of direct early years provision as it had followed a recent local election.
  • Whilst the petitioner acknowledged that the provision of such a service was not a statutory requirement of the Council, the benefits of the service were clear to see as attending an early years setting provided a number of positive childhood outcomes, it was seen that investment in the childhood development of residents should be a worthwhile investment for the Council. It was noted that a number of Council run services were subsidised by local tax payers and it was felt that early years provision should be considered a necessary service that warranted subsidisation.
  • Whilst it was known that without the Council run services, there would still be sufficient access to early years settings across the Borough through private provision, it was highlighted that these services were in some cases 50-80% more expensive than the Council run settings and parents would experience difficulties in meeting these additional costs, particularly in the current economic climate. Petitioners raised concerns that the Council had previously acknowledged that residents were facing higher living costs, yet were considering the removal of an affordable early years service which would put more pressure on the budgets of service users.
  • Elaborating on their own experience of the early years service, the petition organiser noted that they had spent eight weeks settling their child into one of the Council run early years settings in late 2021, this was at a time where they could afford to spend eight weeks supporting the settling in process. If they were to repeat that process in a new early years setting, they would not have the same flexibility to support the settling in process.
  • Petitioners highlighted that savings could be made elsewhere in the Council’s budget to allow the continuation of direct early years provision; examples given included saving on floral displays across the borough and increasing parking charges.
  • Petitioners urged Councillors and Officers to visit the early years centres themselves as the Council’s provision of early years centres was highly regarded by parents and staff. The loss of this service would have a significant impact on those service users, their children and the staff at the centres.


A second nominated speaker, associated with the first  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.