Agenda item

Questions by Elected Members

To consider any questions which may have been received from Elected Members and which are asked pursuant to Standing Order No. 11.


The Chief Executive reported that she had received the following question from Councillor Kitching in accordance with Standing Order No. 11:-


HomeStart South Yorkshire ceased providing support services to vulnerable families on May 31st.


At the previous Council meeting held on May 24th, you told us that plans for filling this gap in service were still in development.


Can you please outline exactly what equivalent provision is now in place across the Borough for families who formerly relied on HomeStart?’


Councillor Bruff (Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Safeguarding)) thanked Councillor Kitching for the question and reported that families which hay have previously accessed the support of HomeStart could access their local Family Centre which supported families with children aged 0-19 years (25 years if the young person was disabled).  Family Centres provided assistance and advice to children, young people and families through groups, activities and, where appropriate, through one to one Family Support in community venues and in the home.  Information on services for families across Barnsley and in local communities was also available through the Families Information Services contact details for which were readily available and could be provided upon request.


More specifically, in relation to the Independent Visitor Scheme, the responsibility for this had recently transferred into the Early Start, prevention and Sufficiency Service.  This Service sat within the Early Intervention and prevention arm of Targeted Youth Support.   Work had commenced in relation to the scheme’s co-ordination and current service users and volunteers would be contacted over the summer.  A full programme of support would be in place for volunteers and young people would be supported to continue to access the service or encouraged to where they did not currently do so. 


Councillor Bruff then referred to another small contract (which she had referred to at the last Council meeting) and took the opportunity to update Members on the current position with regard to this.  The Central Area Council had a contract to deliver a home visiting service to families living in private rented accommodation within the Central Area Council area.  The contract was due to last until 30th September, 2018.  An update report about HomeStart’s financial insolvency was provided and discussed at the Central Area Council meeting held on the 2nd July, 2018 where it was note that discussions had taken place with HomeStart before the insolvency date to ensure that families had been contacted and, where necessary, were linked back to other statutory and voluntary organisations.  Discussions had also taken place regarding the importance of continuing the Central Area HomeStart Family Support Group held at the Hope House Church on a regular weekly basis and an amount of funding was set aside to support the continuation of this group with interim support being provided by the Central Area Team in liaison with HomeStart volunteers.


The full details of the Central Area Council’s Procurement and Update report could be found on the Council’s website or via the ModGov App for the meeting held on the 2nd July, 2018.


Councillor Kitching, in thanking Councillor Bruff for the response asked, as a supplementary question ‘How many families are going to be affected by this and what the increased demand would be for the Family Centres.


Councillor Bruff responded by stating that she did not have this information with her at the meeting but would ensure that a written response would be provided for Councillor Kitching.