In recent years, there has been ongoing development of children’s centres along with the expansion of free nursery education for two, three and four year olds and the expansion of the health visiting service. As a result of this increased support for young children and their families, Hertfordshire County Council (the Council) believes that it is no longer the best use of taxpayers’ money to continue to fund the provision of services in parents’ homes as well. Therefore a recommendation was approved by Cabinet on 15th July 2015 not to retender the current contract for the home visiting service – currently with Home-Start – when it expires in September 2015. The contract provides £391,000 of funding to support 270 families a year – this is £1,448 per family or £16.50 an hour of support. In April 2015 the Council recommissioned its children’s centre programme, retaining all 82 of its original children’s centres. Hertfordshire children’s centres reach over 90% of children aged under five years, and are in contact with over 75% of those families. They offer support to all Hertfordshire families, and they are able to do this for £170 per child, with qualified staff costing approximately £14 an hour. A recent evaluation of families’ key needs has shown that they can be addressed by provision already in place at children’s centres. The partnership agreement between children’s centres and the health visiting service means that regular local meetings identify vulnerable families and agree the appropriate support to meet their needs. As all families are contacted by the universal health visiting service this helps to ensure no family slips through a gap. A further recommendation agreed by Cabinet is for the Council to provide £200,000 of transition funding to Home-Start so that families who are currently receiving support will continue to do so until they reach a suitable point at which they are ready to receive alternative support. This funding will also provide support to the nine Home Start schemes to develop new business models and their volunteer workforce during this transition period. We hope that the Home-Start schemes will still be sustainable, accessing funding from other sources. We are, therefore, confident that families in Hertfordshire will still be able to access support from Home-Start, from their local children’s centre or from other community-based services. The Council fully recognises the contribution of the Home-Start volunteers who provide thousands of hours of their own time to support families in need. We want to retain the existing volunteers and our children’s centres will be encouraged to work with them to explore opportunities for continuing their volunteering work to support local families. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee are reviewing this decision on the 10th August 2015 following a call in by Members.