St Helens Council has insisted it has “no plans” to close any of the borough’s children’s centres as it prepares to carry out a review of the current provision.
Currently there are eight children’s centres in St Helens, which provide a range of services for the community.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service can reveal a decision has been taken through delegated powers to undertake a review of the current provision.
In addition to this, St Helens Council will consult with the public regarding the deregistration of some of the borough’s children’s centres with Ofsted.
The inspection of children’s centres was suspended by Ofsted in 2015, pending a consultation on children’s centres by the Department for Education.
Four years on and inspections remain suspended, with the exception of emergency inspections where safeguarding concerns are raised.
In light of this, St Helens Council said it may consider deregistering Ofsted from some of its children’s centres as it feels its existing criteria is “no longer reflective” of the current services the council provides.
A St Helens Council spokesman said: “Children’s centres are a massive community asset as they play a vital role during the early years of our young people.
“That’s why we’re consulting with residents and stakeholders to get a better understanding of how they are being used and what improvements can be made to fully utilise this service.
“With Ofsted suspending its inspection framework in 2015, as part of the consultation the council may consider deregistering Ofsted from some of its children’s centres as we feel its existing criteria is no longer reflective of the current services we provide.
“We are committed to providing families with the right level of support and will continue to do so in the future and have no plans to close any children’s centres.”
The outcome of the review will be reported to cabinet with recommendations.