New plan to deliver Best Start In Life for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire children

A new report called ‘Best Start In Life’ which outlines a series of new strategies for the future delivery of child social care services has been published.

Sunday, 15th September 2019, 7:00 am
The scrutiny committee meeting

Members of Peterborough City Council’s Children & Education Scrutiny Committee heard the news from Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, executive director for people and communities, at their meeting on Wednesday.

Ms Ogle-Welbourn said: “The key purpose of ‘Best Start In Life’ (BSIL) is to ensure that there is a coordinated and integrated multi-agency agreement on the delivery of pre-birth to five services, and that they are tailored to local needs.

“In the past these services, while taking into account the social care of children, safeguarding and of course children’s health, have been fractious and autonomous in their delivery.

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“This report outlines our new strategy to bring these services together so that they can be delivered to those who genuinely need them more quickly and efficiently.

“It will also mean that we can concentrate on local needs as we find them, rather than the blanket approach taken in the past.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough local authorities have been working together over the past seven months to develop BSIL.

An intensive ‘discovery phase’ was undertaken between November 2018 and March 2019, resulting in the production of the draft BSIL strategy.

That strategy will now be put before a Joint Children’s Health & Wellbeing Executive Board which will monitor the progress and implementation of the plan; they will then direct activities through the joint implementation and advisory groups to ensure that the new key measures are achieved, and at the places they are needed.

“We are currently in the development phase of the plan,” Ms Ogle-Welbourn added, “but I’m confident this new model BSIL will be ready for full implementation in April 2020.”

Cllr Lynne Ayers, council cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and university, said: “The core behind BSIL consists of five themes of integrated delivery.

“Healthy pregnancy (parents and children); vulnerable parents (identified early and supported); well prepared parents; good attachment and bonding; and supporting child development.”

Chairman Cllr Janet Goodwin accepted the report on behalf of the committee and commented: “We look forward to being informed over the coming months of the progress made with BSIL and the priorities identified for the implementation of this new strategy.”