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					                              Executive Summary
     City of Westminster      and Recommendations
                      Date:      11 April 2008

                   Subject:    The Future of Play Provision


Executive Summary and Recommendation
1.      The current contracts for Community Play and School Based Play
        managed by the Westminster Play Centre Service come to an end on
        31 August 2008. A conventional contract re-let will not deliver a service
        that is fit for purpose without closer alignment with the Children‟s
        Services Department‟s vision for locally-managed, integrated services
        for children and young people and, in particular, the Extended Schools
        and Children‟s Centre programmes. This report recommends changes
        in the way play services are commissioned and to existing service
        levels to improve value for money and equality of access.

2.      Play provision, particularly school-based play, fits naturally within the
        portfolio of extended services which all schools are required to offer by
        2010, as well as the Children‟s Centre programme. The report
        proposes the phased transfer of school based play provisions to direct
        management by primary schools and a phased transfer of community
        play projects to local management arrangements wherever this is
        practical.

3.      The report further proposes that the Lisson Green Play Project be
        developed as a fully resourced inclusive play centre with additional
        provision for children with moderate/severe learning and physical
        disabilities and that tenders for the management of the Project be
        invited for a three year contract (with an option to extend for a further
        two years) starting on 1 April 2009. Appendix A sets out the proposed
        service levels to be included within the specification and contract
        documentation for the Lisson Green Play Project.

4.      Recommendations

4.1     That the report be noted.

4.2.    That approval be given to the proposals for the future commissioning of
        play provision as set out in Section 5 of this report.

4.3     That approval be given to the service levels for a three year contract
        (with an option to extend for a further two years) for the management of
        the Lisson Green Play Project as set out in Appendix A of this report.


                                         1
                           Cabinet Member Report
City of Westminster

      Cabinet Member:      Cabinet Member for Children‟s Services


         Classification:   For General Release


        Title of Report:   The Future of Play Provision


             Report of:    Director of Commissioning


       Wards involved:     All


        Policy context:    Every Child Matters


    Financial summary:     The overall gross budget for the two play contracts in
                           2007/08 is estimated at £1,242,200. The cost of the
                           play warden scheme is estimated at £29,000 in
                           2007/08. The increase in revenue costs from the
                           proposed enhanced provision for children with
                           moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities at
                           the Lisson Green Play Project is consistent with
                           resources released from the proposed
                           decommissioning of places and changes in staffing
                           levels.


        Report Author:     Jenny Greenwood, Head of Early Childhood Services


        Contact details    Telephone: 020 7641 2537
                           jgreenwood@westminster.gov.uk




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1.    Board Recommendations
1.1   The Children‟s Services Departmental Contracts Board (DCB)
      received the report at its meeting on 20 March 2008. The Board
      considered the risks around the level of savings from
      decommissioning of provision and employment issues arising from the
      transfer of school based provision to the four schools in September
      2008. DCB agreed that the report be recommended to Cabinet
      Member for approval.

1.2   The Contracts Review Board (CRB) received the report at its meeting
      on 25 March 2008. CRB discussed the need for a long-term play
      strategy, the longer term issue of assessing demand for play provision
      for children with moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities, the
      cost and timescale of employment issues arising from the transfer of
      school based provision to the four schools in September 2008 and the
      delivery of the sustainability strands of the proposed contract for the
      Lisson Green Play Project. CRB agreed that the report be
      recommended to Cabinet Member for approval.


2     Background Information
      Westminster Play Strategy

2.1   Westminster„s Play Strategy for 2005-2009 sets out the Council‟s
      commitment to support the healthy development and extended learning
      potential of children aged 0-14 years through play, with access to a
      range of quality services that are age, and developmentally
      appropriate, safe and sensitive to their needs. High quality play
      opportunities have the potential to raise achievement, reduce anti-
      social behaviour and compensate for poverty, and this is especially
      important in Westminster where many children are living in socially and
      economically disadvantaged areas.

      Existing Commissioning Arrangements

2.2   The City Council currently commissions universal, discretionary after
      school and holiday play services for children aged 5 -11 years old
      through the community play service contract and the school-based play
      service contract. Both contracts are currently managed by the
      Westminster Play Centre Service (WPCS).

2.3   The contract for community play was first let in September 1997
      following a negotiated process with Westminster Play Association. A
      two year and eleven month contract was re-let in May 2005 and was
      subsequently extended for five months in February 2007 to allow more
      time for the City Council to commission a new play contract that will
      respond more effectively to the Change for Children agenda and
      improve outcomes for all children.


                                      3
2.4   The contract for school-based play was first let in April 1998 following a
      competitive tendering process. A five year contract was re-let in April
      2003 and was also extended for five months in February 2007.

2.5   The two contracts are due to end on 31 August 2008.

3.    Current Service Provision
      School Based Play

3.1   The school-based contract provides a total of 510 places for 5 to 11
      year olds, They are based at the following primary schools - Churchill
      Gardens, Edward Wilson, Essendine, Millbank, Paddington Green, St
      Augustine‟s, St Clement Danes, St James and St Michael‟s and Soho
      Parish. With the exception of the St Clement Danes project all serve
      areas of disadvantage and align with children‟s centres and extended
      schools. The St Clement Danes project does however have the
      highest take up of places. The play centres are open from the end of
      the school day to 5.30pm (including 30 minutes preparation time) in
      term-time, Monday to Friday.

3.2   The school-based play centres provide an element of continuity, where
      children are able to remain on the same site and work within the same
      friendship network. The centres also give support to working parents,
      as they can feel assured that their children are in a safe environment
      and are continuing to learn and enjoy themselves. A further advantage
      of school-based play is the access to all of the resources the school
      premises have to offer, including opportunities for study, sports, art and
      IT based activities. Westminster‟s school-based play centres thus
      provide an ideal opportunity to integrate out-of-school play with out-of-
      school learning and sports, improving health and aiding the delivery of
      an Active Westminster (currently the subject of a strategy being
      developed). However, the average attendance at the school-based
      sites is approximately 59.5% of the total number of places, with centres
      in the north of the City sustaining low levels of uptake

      Community Play

3.3   It is recognised that children and families may wish to use alternative
      sites to play which are not based in schools. Parents and children need
      to be able to access safe play opportunities within easy reach of their
      home community. The City Council has therefore commissioned
      supervised services on non-school-based sites and housing estates
      with organised play activities that are responsive to children‟s needs
      and are more likely to meet the needs of older children, particularly
      those aged 8-13 years. Services are designed to integrate play, sports
      and fitness activities.




                                       4
3.4   There are six community play projects for 5 -11 year olds based at
      Maida Vale (Paddington Recreation Ground), Lisson Green (5 – 14
      year olds), Micky Star, Queens Park, St. Stephens and Sussex Street.
      The contract provides a total of 305 places. The projects are open as
      follows:
                        3.30 pm - 6.00 pm - term time
                        8.30 am - 6.00 pm - school holidays
                        10.00 am- 4.00 pm - Saturdays, term time
                        Easter - 2 weeks
                        Half terms - 3 weeks
                        Summer - 6 weeks
                        Christmas – 1 week.
3.5   While attendance during holidays is usually at capacity, with a waiting
      list at the more popular sites, such as Micky Star and Sussex Street,
      monitoring data from WPCS indicates that, in October 2007,
      attendance at the Community Play sites was approximately 41.8% that
      of the total number of places.

3.6   A Summer holiday play scheme is also provided each year in the south
      of Westminster for 40 places over four weeks.

3.7   In response to calls for affordable, supervised play in community and
      public spaces, the City Council launched a pilot peripatetic Play
      Warden service in the 2005 summer holiday which provided free,
      stimulating play activities in venues most frequented by those children
      who did not attend play centres. Resources were provided to support
      activities which were responsive to the needs of children and young
      people and which provided an opportunity for social interaction and
      role-modelling to support good citizenship and reduce criminal activity
      through boredom and lack of supervision in the community. The pilot
      project proved to be extremely successful and popular and was
      therefore repeated during the 2006 and 2007 Summer holiday periods
      with three teams of wardens working for four weeks on housing estates
      in the most disadvantaged areas.

      Children with moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities

3.8   Provision for children with moderate/severe learning and physical
      disabilities is currently made through a service level agreement with
      Westminster Society for People with Learning Difficulties which
      provides for 35 places for children aged between 5 and 16½ at the
      Rainbow Children‟s Centre over a period of 50 days which includes two
      training days and all holiday periods with the exception of Christmas.

3.9   Provision for children with moderate/severe learning and physical
      disabilities has also been developed at Lisson Green Play Centre,
      through a partnership between WPCS and the voluntary sector
      provider, KIDS. Lisson Green currently offers eight 1:1 places and


                                     5
      eight 1:4 places two days a week during term time, on alternative
      Saturdays (9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.) and two or three days a week over
      four weeks during the Summer holiday period, two weeks at Easter and
      three weeks at each half term. The cost of the provision at Lisson
      Green is met in part through One City funding. A number of places
      have also been made available on alternative Saturdays at Maida Vale,
      Queens Park and Micky Star Play Centres. Additional holiday places
      at Lisson Green and elsewhere e.g. Chelsea Playground, Sybil Elgar,
      are spot purchased as and when required.

3.10 As part of the strategy to improve access for children with
     moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities and, in light of the
     One City funding made available to improve access to play
     opportunities, a holiday scheme for children and young people with
     learning difficulties and disabilities aged between 8 and 17yrs was
     piloted at College Park School last summer. Between 5 and 12
     children and young people with moderate to severe learning disabilities
     attended each session. The overall quality of the provision was very
     good and offered a range of activities focused on the abilities of the
     children.

4.    External Market for Play
4.1   When the contract for the school based play was first let in April 1998
      only three organisations, including WPCS, submitted bids. Despite a
      market warming exercise only WPCS expressed an interest when the
      contract was re-let in 2003. Three organisations, including the then
      provider Westminster Play Association and WPCS, submitted tenders
      when the community play contract was first let through a competitive
      tender in May 2005.

4.2   A market warming exercise in preparation for the re-let of the school-
      based play and community play contracts was carried out in January
      2007. Following advertisements placed in the national journal “Children
      Now” and on the City Council and London Play websites,
      questionnaires were sent out to nine potential providers. Five
      questionnaires were returned and officers met with four organisations,
      including WPCS. Seven other London boroughs were also contacted to
      establish how they currently source their after school play services. Of
      these seven boroughs, six manage the service directly with the service
      in the seventh managed by the local Play Association.

4.3   The market testing suggested that there is little or no prospect of an
      external market for the play contracts. Of the five organisations who
      returned questionnaires two indicated that they might be interested in
      the school-based contract, one indicated that they would only be
      interested in the community play contract and two, including WPCS,
      indicated that they would be interested in both. Two external
      organisations expressed an interest in the management of Lisson



                                      6
      Green Play Centre as a stand alone fully resourced inclusive play
      centre.


5.    Forward Commissioning Strategy
      General

5.1   The Children‟s Services Departmental Contracts Board on 3 May 2007
      and Contracts Review Board on 22 May 2007 had agreed a report
      setting out proposals for a contract re-letting strategy based largely on
      a conventional re-tendering exercise. However, following further
      discussion at Children‟s Services Board and Departmental Contracts
      Board during August and September 2007 it is now proposed that
      significant changes should be made in the way play provision is
      commissioned after the end of the current contract in August 2008. A
      number of factors have combined to support this proposal, including
      the extended services in schools agenda, emerging Children‟s Centre
      local partnerships, the continued low occupancy of some of the play
      services, the need for improved provision for disabled young people,
      the success of the Play Warden Pilot Scheme and the absence of an
      external market.

5.2   Play provision, particularly school based play, fits naturally within the
      portfolio of extended services which all schools are required to offer by
      2010. The Extended Services programme, which sets out to increase
      the amount of childcare provided through school premises is part of a
      long term school improvement programme that offers a range of
      services and activities, often beyond the school day, to help meet the
      needs of children, young people, their families and the wider
      community. A review of the Council‟s forward strategy for play is
      therefore an ideal opportunity to integrate Westminster play provision
      into the planned development of these extended services. At the heart
      of both initiatives is a recognition that children‟s well-being and high
      educational standards go hand in hand and that these additional
      services contribute to improving children and young people‟s skills,
      confidence, behaviour, health and achievement.

5.3   Play services are universal but also need to meet the needs of children
      who require specialist help. The Joint Area Review of Children‟s
      Services identified a need for further provision for children with
      disabilities, particularly in terms of transport, appropriately trained play-
      workers, specialised play equipment and access to play centres. The
      Council‟s forward strategy for play therefore needs to include a
      proposal to increase this provision, within existing resources

5.4   The performance of WPCS although good in parts is inconsistent and
      unlikely to deliver a high quality service without restructuring. The




                                        7
      existing client/provider split is also regarded as expensive and
      anomalous, especially given the lack of an external market.

5.5   In summary it is felt that a conventional contract re-let will not deliver a
      service that is fit for purpose without closer alignment with the
      Children‟s Services Department‟s vision for locally-managed, integrated
      services for children and young people and, in particular, the Extended
      Services and Children‟s Centre programmes.

5.6   The nine school-based play projects and the six community play sites
      will need different solutions. A strategy based on the following key
      elements is therefore proposed:

         A phased transfer of school-based play provision to direct
          management by primary schools within the wider context of
          Children‟s Centres and extended services.
         Phased transfer of community play projects to local management
          arrangements wherever practicable.
         Consolidation of current play budgets within locally-managed
          budgets for extended services wherever possible.
         Restructuring of WPCS by the end of August 2008, to bring the
          service in-house, strengthen management arrangements during
          transition and improve quality.
         A continuation of the existing arrangements to provide time for an
          orderly and phased transition.

      School-Based Play

5.7   A common approach is proposed with phased transfer of provision to
      individual schools, building where possible on Children‟s Centre lead
      setting arrangements. The ambition is to commission low cost play
      opportunities at a range of locations across the City, accessible in
      particular to the most disadvantaged children. Most of the current
      provision passes this test.

5.8   Following consultation with schools earlier this year four primary
      schools currently “host” to an after school play centre (St. Augustine‟s,
      Millbank, Edward Wilson and Soho Parish) indicated a commitment to
      manage school-based projects on their sites. It is proposed that the
      budgets for these projects, adjusted for revised service levels, (see
      paragraph 5.18) will be devolved to schools from September 2008. It is
      also proposed that further discussions take place with the remaining
      five schools with a view to moving to devolved management
      arrangements by September 2009.

5.9   The aim will be to achieve a single budget for extended services at
      school level, underpinned by a commissioning relationship, enabling
      schools to shape provision to meet local need. Further discussions will
      take place with headteachers on issues such as an attendance charge
      policy within the broader context of Extended Services.


                                       8
      Community Play

5.10 For community play services it is unlikely that a single management
     arrangement will emerge for the six projects.

5.11 The Maida Vale project in Paddington Recreation Ground is largely
     underused in term time. At November 2007 52 children were
     registered equating to 21 full-time equivalent places out of a possible
     45. On average only 10 children attend each day with as few as 13
     attending. Attendance during holiday periods is better with 94 children
     registered during the summer holiday 2007, with an average daily
     attendance of 41. Given the overall under-use of the project, and the
     redevelopment of the Recreation Ground, which already provides a
     wide range of play, sport and leisure activities for children and young
     people, it had been proposed to decommission the Maida Vale Project
     from April 2008 after the Easter holiday provision. However, after
     listening to the views of parents/carers and Ward Members expressed
     during consultation (see Appendix B) it is now proposed to transfer
     provision during school holidays (except Christmas) and, subject to
     demand, on Saturdays during term-time to the Pavilion in the
     Recreation Ground, which can provide more indoor floor space that
     within the existing building. Monday to Friday term-time play
     opportunities for children in the Maida Vale area will from September
     2008 be met through other existing projects including the provision
     available at Essendine and St. Augustine‟s Primary Schools. The
     provision at Essendine and St. Augustine‟s Primary Schools will close
     at 6.00 p.m. to reflect the current hours of operation at the Maida Vale
     project.

5.12 As part of extending the offer to children with moderate/severe learning
     and physical disabilities it is proposed to decommission the Lisson
     Green Play Project from the Community Play Contract and let a new
     contract for a stand alone, inclusive, resourced centre from April 2009
     (see paragraph 5.15).

5.13 It is proposed that further negotiations be held on the future
     management arrangements for Micky Star, St Stephen‟s, Sussex
     Street and Queen‟s Park play centres, building on emerging Children‟s
     Centre local partnerships, neighbouring extending schools and the
     corporate Property Services Review. The ambition is that wherever
     possible provision will be managed locally as part of extended services
     in schools and Children‟s Centres, through the commissioning
     arrangements set out above. At the same time further consideration
     will be given to the future management arrangements for the play
     warden scheme (see paragraph 3.7) and summer holiday play
     provision. In the short term it is proposed that the Micky Star, St.
     Stephen‟s, Sussex Street and Queens Park Community Play centres,
     the play warden scheme and Summer holiday provision will continue to
     be managed by WPCS as an in-house service.


                                      9
       Provision for Children with Moderate/Severe Learning and Physical
       Disabilities

5.14 As indicated in paragraph 3.9 opportunities currently exist for a small
     number of children with moderate/severe learning and physical
     disabilities to access the play centres. Places are spot purchased by
     the Children with Disabilities team. It is proposed to extend these
     opportunities and develop a more integrated inclusive service across all
     play centres, maximising City Council resources to increase access
     and give disabled children improved opportunities to attend for longer
     hours.

5.15 It is also proposed that Lisson Green Play Centre should be designated
     as a fully inclusive centre and that the current offer for children with
     moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities be extended to ten
     1:1 places and eight 1:4 places, three days a week during term time,
     every Saturday (9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.) and five days a week for four
     weeks during the Summer holiday period, two weeks at Easter and
     three weeks at each half term. Market testing indicated that there were
     at least two local external providers who would be interested in
     managing Lisson Green on this basis. It is therefore proposed that
     tenders be invited for a three year contract (with an option to extend for
     a further two years) from April 2009. In order to help assess value for
     money it is intended to invite WPCS to submit a proposal against which
     tenders can be benchmarked. A summary of the proposed general
     service levels for this contract are set out in Appendix A.

5.16 It is further proposed that a holiday play scheme be provided at College
     Park School (subject to site availability) for fifteen children (1:4 places),
     three days a week for four weeks over the summer holiday period.
     This scheme, which will be managed by the school and funded from
     One City project funds, will build on the success of the summer holiday
     2007 pilot project at the school (see paragraph 3.10).

       Other Proposed Changes to Existing Service Levels

5.17 Term-time play centres have long operated below capacity, particularly
     with regards places for over-8s. Changes to existing service levels are
     needed to improve value for money, release resources and enable re-
     investment in extending provision for children with moderate/severe
     learning and physical disabilities. It is therefore proposed to
     decommission 74 over-8 and 48 under-8 unused places across both
     contracts (without detriment to the existing number of children actually
     attending) by April 2008. It is further proposed to decommission
     unused Saturday places by around 30% and Christmas school holiday
     openings in the Community Play contract to reflect current demand.




                                       10
5.18 Under existing agreed service levels play leaders are considered
     supernumerary to staffing ratios except at times of unusually high
     attendance or if a play worker is off site on service related issues. The
     National Child Care standards do not however require play leaders to
     be supernumerary. It is therefore proposed that play leaders should no
     longer be excluded from the calculation of adult: child ratios.

      Restructuring of Westminster Play Centre Service

5.19 The performance of the current provider, WPCS is inconsistent and
     unlikely to deliver a high quality service without restructuring. The
     existing client/provider split is also expensive and anomalous given the
     lack of an external market. It is therefore proposed to restructure
     WPCS, including the current client/provider split by the end of August
     2008 to eliminate unnecessary costs, strengthen management
     structures, improve accountability and quality and deliver the forward
     commissioning strategy outlined above.

      Timescales

5.20 A summary of the timescales for the proposed forward commissioning
     strategy is given below in table 1.

      Table 1

                          Proposal
       Changes to service levels                       September 2008
       Transfer Maida Vale term time provision         September 2008
       Commission 4 week holiday scheme for            July 2008
       children with LDD at College Park School
       Devolve the management of four play             September 2008
       projects to schools
       Subject to the outcome of negotiations          September 2009
       transfer five remaining school based
       projects to schools
       Let stand alone contract for Lisson Green       April 2009
       Play Centre


6.    Consultation
6.1   Questionnaires were distributed to parents in May 2007 seeking their
      views about the existing service provision. A copy of the results of this
      consultation is available as a Background Paper. Three focus groups
      were also subsequently held for parents although disappointingly only
      one parent attended.

6.2   A letter was sent on 21 January 2008 to parents of the children
      registered at the Maida Vale Play Project inviting comments or
      discussion on the proposals for play in the Maida Vale area. A letter


                                      11
      outlining the proposals and inviting comments was also sent to the local
      Ward Councillors. A meeting attended by parents/carers, Ward
      Members, Karen Buck M.P., the Cabinet Member for Children‟s
      Services and officers was held on 12 February 2008. A list of key
      questions and answers was also circulated. A copy of the outcome of
      the consultation is attached at Appendix B.

6.3   A discussion paper on the options/implications for re-letting the school
      based play contract was sent out to all headteachers of primary and
      special schools on 1 March 2007. Schools currently “host” to an after
      school play centre were asked to indicate whether they would wish to
      take on the management of their own play centre service from
      September 2008. All other schools were asked to indicate whether
      they wished to make a strong case for having a play centre based on
      evidence of local need. Following a meeting with headteachers on 11
      May 2007 a “question and answer” paper was sent to all nine schools
      currently “host” to a play centre.

6.4   The manager of WPCS has been kept informed of the proposals
      contained in this report. Staff affected by the proposed devolution of
      play centre management to schools will be consulted on the proposed
      changes. Staff will also be consulted on staffing changes as a result of
      the proposed restructuring of WPCS.


7.    Legal Implications
7.1   There are no legal implications arising directly from this report.


8.    Staffing Implications
8.1   The impact on the City Council of any staffing changes as a result of
      the proposed restructuring of WPCS will be considered in a separate
      minor re-organisation report at a later date.

8.2   The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations
      1981 (TUPE) will apply to the seven staff employed by the Westminster
      Play Centre Service at St. Augustine‟s Primary School and Soho Parish
      Primary School play centres. Staff will be consulted formally on the
      proposals to devolve management responsibility to these two voluntary
      aided schools.

8.3   Edward Wilson Primary School and Millbank Primary School are
      community schools which means that staff employed at these schools
      are City Council employees. TUPE will therefore not apply to the
      eleven staff transferring from the Westminster Play Centre Service.
      However, staff will be consulted on the proposed changes to their
      working arrangements.



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9.     Health and Safety Implications
9.1    There are no health and safety implications arising from this report.

9.2    An assessment of the health and safety policies of potential Tenderers
       for the Lisson Green contract will take place at the expression of
       interest stage to ensure that contractors invited to tender have the right
       level of health and safety skills. Tenderers will be required to submit a
       comprehensive health and safety plan, including a full risk assessment.


10.    Implications for Information Technology, Property and
       the Customers Services Initiative
10.1   There are no implications for Information Technology or the CSi arising
       from this report.

10.2   The Lisson Green contract will be let allowing the contractor use of the
       existing premises at a peppercorn rent with an internal repairing lease
       whereby the “landlord” (PHA) undertakes structural and main services
       work and the “tenant” responsibilities are split between the Children‟s
       Services Department and the Contractor. A copy of the draft lease will
       be included in the tender documentation so that bidders are aware of
       the conditions of the lease. The leases will be granted for the initial
       term of the contract the contract, i.e. three years. If the contract is
       extended for up to two years then new leases will be required to cover
       the extension. This is preferable to a lease running for five years since
       this implies that the contract will be extended, and runs the risk that if it
       is not, the necessary break clause may not be implemented at the
       correct time.


11.    Financial Implications
11.1   The annual gross value of the existing community play contract is
       estimated at £789,900 for the financial year 2007/08. The annual gross
       value of the existing school-based play contract is estimated at
       £452,300 in the financial year 2007/08. Income from fees in 2007/08 is
       estimated at £140,000 (£62,000 School Based Play and £78,000
       Community Play).

11.2 The budget for the existing Play Warden Scheme is estimated at
     £29,000 in 2007/08

11.3 The 2007/08 budget for after school and holiday play for children with
     moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities is estimated at
     £142,900. This includes £75,000 One City funding but excludes
     £98,356 in respect of the service level agreement with the Westminster




                                        13
       Society for People with Learning Difficulties for the holiday provision at
       the Rainbow Children‟s Centre.

11.4 Table 2 below provides a summary of the estimated financial
     implications arising from the proposals in Section 4 of this report:

       Table 2

                              Proposal                              £
           Decommissioning of Monday to Friday term-               -74,600
           time provision at Maida Vale, reduction in
           places across the service and including play
           leaders in overall adult:child ratios
           Decommissioning of Saturday places by 30%               -23,000
           and Christmas holiday provision
           Decommissioning Lisson Grove play project                97,600
           and re-let as a stand alone contract
           Net Change                                                    0

11.5 The proposals in table 2 above will be reviewed in the event that further
     detailed financial work indicates that the resources released from the
     proposed decommissioning is not consistent with the cost of the
     proposed enhanced provision for children with moderate/severe
     learning and physical disabilities at Lisson Green.

11.6 The level of savings arising from a restructure of WPCS and the
     client/provider split is not yet known.


12.    Human Rights Act 1998
12.1 The recommendations in this report do not contravene the
     requirements of the human rights legislation.


13.    Business Plan Implications
13.1   There are no Business Plan implications arising from this report.


14.    Policy Implications
       Supporting Local Businesses

14.1   The letting of a stand alone contract for the Lisson Green Play Project will
       provide an opportunity for smaller, local providers to bid for the contract.
       The advertisement inviting expressions of interest will also be placed in
       the local press.




                                        14
       Equality and Diversity

14.2   The proposals set out in this report seek to extend the opportunities for
       children with moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities and
       develop a more integrated inclusive service across all play centres,
       maximising City Council resources to increase access and give
       disabled children improved opportunities to attend for longer hours.

14.3   Tenderers for the Lisson Green Play Project will be required to confirm
       that they comply with Equality Legislation and indicate how they actively
       promote equality in their workforce.

14.4   The monitoring and evaluation guidelines which will be put in place for
       this contract will monitor the contractor‟s adherence to Equality
       Legislation.

       Sustainable Procurement

14.5   As part of the tender documentation for the Lisson Green Play Project,
       Tenderers will be invited to set out their company‟s environmental
       policies and proposals for using environmentally friendly or energy
       efficient products.


15.    Ward Member Comments

15.1 The forward commissioning strategy for play relates to all wards. As
     indicated in paragraph 5.2 a letter outlining the proposals for play
     provision in the Maida Vale area was sent to the three local Ward
     Members. Members of the Maida Vale Ward attended the meeting with
     parents/carers on 12 February 2008 and were also consulted on the
     issues raised in this report regarding the Maida Vale play project.
     Ward Members responded jointly as follows: “We have stated our
     areas of concern and difficulties with this proposal at a number of
     meetings and in continuous correspondence and conversations with
     the Cabinet Member and officers from Children's Services. We
     maintain our position regarding those concerns and hope that the
     Cabinet Member will take these, and the comments of parents and
     users, into account when making the decision.”


16.    Outstanding Issues
16.1 There are no outstanding issues.




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17.    Conclusion and Reason for Decision
17.1 The proposals set out in Section 5 of this report will lead to improved
     access to a higher quality play service for all children and in particular
     for children with moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities .

17.2 Savings from the revised service levels, maximising existing places
     within the contracts and bringing together commissioning budgets
     within Children‟s Services, will mean that investment in new play
     priorities will be cost neutral.

17.3 There will be a greater alignment of play services with the children‟s
     centre and extended services programmes.



        IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES ABOUT THIS REPORT OR WISH TO
      INSPECT ANY OF THE BACKGROUND PAPERS, PLEASE CONTACT
           JENNY GREENWOOD ON 0207 641 2537; EMAIL ADDRESS
                      jgreenwood@westminster.gov.uk




Background Papers

The documents used or referred to in compiling the report were: -

Report (3.5.07) to the Children‟s Services Departmental Contracts Board and
(22.5.07) to Contracts Review Board “Re-letting Strategy for the After School
Play Contract and Community Play Contract”

Letter (21.1.08) to parents of children registered at Maida Vale Play Project

Summary of the results of consultation with parents (June 2007)

Comments (26.3.08) from Maida Vale Ward Members




                                       16
For completion by Cabinet Member for Children‟s Services

Declaration of Interest

   I have no interest to declare in respect of this report

    Signed ……………………………. Date ………………………………

    NAME:


   I have to declare an interest

    State nature of interest ……..……………………………………………

    ………………………………………………………………………………..

    Signed ……………………………. Date …………………………………

    NAME:

(N.B: If you have an interest you should seek advice as to whether it is
appropriate to make a decision in relation to this matter.)

For the reasons set out above, I agree the recommendations in the report
entitled Future of Play Provision and reject any alternative options which are
referred to but not recommended.

Signed ………………………………………………

Cabinet Member for Children‟s Services

Date …………………………………………………

If you have any additional comment which you would want actioned in
connection with your decision you should discuss this with the report author
and then set out your comment below before the report and this pro-forma is
returned to the Secretariat for processing.

Additional comment: …………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………….
NOTE: If you do not wish to approve the recommendations, or wish to make an alternative
decision, it is important that you consult the report author, the Director of Legal and
Administrative Services, the Director of Finance and Resources and, if there are staffing
implications, the Director of Human Resources (or their representatives) so that (1) you can
be made aware of any further relevant considerations that you should take into account
before making the decision and (2) your reasons for the decision can be properly identified
and recorded, as required by law.



                                             17
Note to Cabinet Member: Your decision will now be published and copied to the
Members of the relevant Overview & Scrutiny Committee. If the decision falls within the
criteria for call-in, it will not be implemented until five working days have elapsed from
publication to allow the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to decide whether it wishes
to call the matter in.




                                           18
                                                           Appendix A

    General Levels of Service for the Lisson Green Play Project

   To provide a high quality, inclusive play project for children aged
    between 5 and 14 years (up to 16½ for children with
    moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities).
   To meet the registration and inspection standards of The Childcare
    (General Childcare Register) Compulsory Registration Regulations
    2007
   To operate in school term time, Mondays to Fridays from 3.30 p.m.
    to 6.00 p.m. including 30 minutes preparation time
   To operate Saturdays, during term-time, 10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.
   To operate 11 weeks holiday provision per year during school
    holidays, five days per week, from 8.30 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.:
              Easter - 2 weeks
              Half terms - 3 weeks
              Summer - 6 weeks

   To provide the following number of places during term-time,
    Saturdays and school holidays

      No. of places       Ratios
      62                  32 under 8‟s: 30 over 8‟s

    To provide in addition the following places for children with
     moderate/severe learning and physical disabilities assessed as
     requiring a special adult:child

           Ten 1:1 places and eight 4:1 places for three days a week
            during term time
        Ten 1:1 places and eight 4:1 places for five days a week
            during holiday periods
        Ten 1:1 places and eight 4:1 places every Saturday during
            term time
   To operate a supervised care service
   To provide a safe, stimulating, high quality, play curriculum
    designed to meet the physical, intellectual, social, emotional and
    creative needs of all children as well as promoting well-being
   To operate an admissions policy giving priority to:
        children with moderate/severe learning and physical
           disabilities reassessed as moving from special ratio to
           mainstream
        children who are Westminster residents
        children of working parents/parents seeking work/parents in
           training
        children who are siblings of a child/children already attending
           the Play Project



                                19
                                                                      Appendix B

Summary of consultation responses regarding the future of play in Maida Vale


1.    Set out below is the summary of the outcome of consultation regarding
      the future of play in Maida Vale proposing:

                 reprovision of term-time provision at neighbouring play projects
                  due to the low take-up of places;
                 replacing all year holiday provision with a four-week holiday
                  scheme in the area;
                 introducing a permanent summer holiday Play Warden Scheme.

2.    Consultation began on 23 January 2008 and ended on 29 February
      2008 having been extended from 15 February 2008. Letters were sent
      regarding the above proposal to 95 parents all of whom have had
      children registered with the Play Project over the last two years.
      Details of parents were provided by the Westminster Play Centre
      Service. These were followed by a meeting on 12 February 2008,
      attended by council officers, local councillors and the Cabinet Member
      for Children‟s Services and an offer of individual meetings to deal with
      personal enquiries.

3.    A summary of the outcome of consultation is as follows:

      (i)         26 written responses were received, 19 from parents of children
                  registered with the play project. Everyone opposed the
                  proposals. One parent expressed support for the free Play
                  Warden Scheme.

      (ii)        Many parents raised objections to the planned transfer of the
                  play project to the Pavilion. This was not included in the
                  proposals for consultation as it had been previously agreed as
                  part of the redevelopment of the Paddington Recreation Ground.
                  Several parents complained that the consultation on this earlier
                  proposal was inadequate.

      (iii)       22 people attended the consultation meeting along with some
                  local residents and former play centre users. Views expressed
                  were as follows:

                     important to retain the play project in a green space;
                     concern that the Pavilion would not provide a dedicated play
                      space and would provide a less satisfactory environment for
                      play;
                     concern about the quality and safety of the Essendine School
                      Play Centre;
                     insufficient time for consultation;



                                          20
               dissatisfaction with the overall consultation on the previous
                park redevelopment;
               important to offer all year round holiday provision to support
                working parents.

     (iv)   A parent at Maida Vale conducted a survey with children. Thirty
            two children completed the questionnaire. The children were
            asked to rate after school clubs, playing with friends at home
            and attending play centre. All the children rated the play centre
            as the most popular venue, all of them giving it a 10 (the top
            score).

     (v)    Parents were offered 1:1 meetings. 10 parents requested these
            and were seen individually on 22 and 25 February. They raised
            the following points:

               parents believe they were not consulted on the transfer to a
                shared space in the pavilion when consultation took place
                regarding the redevelopment of the park;
               concern that the project cannot remain on its current site;
               concern that the pavilion does not have a dedicated play
                space with safe access for children;
               concern that there will be no dedicated kitchen in the
                pavilion;
               that a four week holiday scheme is inadequate to meet
                working parents‟ needs;
               lack of trust in the decision-making process and in officers‟
                integrity to report accurately the views of parents;
               no objection to play wardens but irrelevant to the decision on
                the future of the play project;
               concern about the safety of the Essendine School Play
                Project;
               important to retain the play project in a green space;
               concern that the Play Wardens should be checked through
                the Criminal Records Bureau;
               some acceptance about transferring to the pavilion;
               need for a quiet homework space in any provision.

4.   Karen Buck, MP put in writing her concerns about the proposals and
     the mood of the consultation meeting being in favour of maintaining a
     service within the park. She affirmed a demand for affordable, high
     quality out-of-school services for working parents and those on low
     incomes and the importance of charging policy and effective promotion.




                                     21
5.   The management of Westminster Play Centre Service responded to
     the proposals, including:
         support for term-time provision to relocate to neighbouring play
            projects with service opening hours to match those at Maida
            Vale;
         retention of the existing „walking bus‟ arrangement with St.
            Joseph‟s School;
         alternative Saturday provision to be offered at Queen‟s Park or
            St. Stephen‟s Play Projects;
         11 weeks holiday provision to be retained in the park in the
            Pavilion;
         programme at Essendine to be reviewed to ensure continuity of
            provision of Maida Vale users and to increase the use of outdoor
            play opportunities in the Paddington Recreation Ground;
         support for improved play provision for children with disabilities
            and the Play Wardens proposals.

6.   Westminster Play Centre Service also proposed that improved access
     to play provision should include a review of play fees. Although fees
     were not part of the current consultation, officers will involve the service
     in further discussion on this issue in due course.

7.   Finally, a petition with 605 signatures (including both residents and
     non-residents), and opposing the proposals, was presented to the full
     Council meeting on 12 March 2008.




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