3:10pm Thursday 31st January 2013
JOBS will go and services will be axed at children’s centres in Bolton as Town Hall bosses look for more ways to save money in the face of multi-million pound budget cuts.
But none of the borough’s 18 children centres will shut — and essential support services for the most vulnerable families will remain, chiefs say.
Bolton Council is facing cuts of £43.6 million, and the children’s services department has to save £5.5 million — £1.5 million of which will be come from changing the way children’s centres operate.
Under the proposals 41 posts will be axed — 12 of which are already vacant — and three new posts as well as three temporary posts will be created.
The majority of redundancies are expected to be voluntary.
There are plans to remove all “non-assessed family support services” such as stay and play from children’s centres, which are open to all toddlers and parents regardless of need.
But it is hoped these activities will be taken over and new ones will be introduced by schools and community groups .
Temporary staff will be appointed to help those wanting to run activities for pre-school children.
Other family support services for vulnerable children and families who need support will remain and parents will be advised to use them.
Health services will be unchanged.
John Daly, the council’s assistant director of children’s services, said: “We are not closing any of the centres, whereas other authorities are closing one third to a half of their centres.”
Education bosses urged local groups and people to get involved with the proposals and help to “fill the gap”.
Mr Daly said: “This will make the changes less painful than they potentially could be.”
The proposals will now go to consultation and department director Margaret Asquith urged people to have their say.
The deputy leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas, said the cuts would involve reducing the management structure and merging roles, leading to a reduction in staff.
She said the plan was to “manage the impact of these unprecedented cuts imposed on us by government as fairly as possible in these draconian times.”
She added: “Our aim is to minimise the impact on frontline service delivery wherever possible.”
Cllr Thomas said staff, unions, customers, residents and partner organisations would be consulted.
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