The day before 400,000 million people march in London to protest about Government cuts, the Department for Children, Schools and Families have withdrawn a vital webservice for families looking for assistance and local childcare. Swindon Borough Council is supposed to have replaced this service – DUT IT HASNT.
When did Swindon borough Council know about this change? The Swindon Family Information Service just passes people looking for childminders back to the national service!
This is a message fro the Swindon Sure Start Partnership sent on 25th March 2011.
Family Information Directory Online
“We have been advised by the Department for Education at short notice that the national online childcare finder service available on Directgov at http://childcarefinder.direct.gov.uk/childcarefinder will no longer be funded by central government and will close on 31st March 2011. This means that parents will no longer be able to find information using this site. Parents who look for this service will be directed to the Family Information Service at their Local Authority.”
This seems to be part of closure of the national Family Information Directory. This was an extensive online signposting which aggregated data from local authorities and national organisations in England and then published it on a range of websites to enable parents, families and those who work with them to search for information about childcare and family services. It contained pages with assistance for mums, dads, grandparents, lone-parents, parents and families of disabled children.
How can the Government pull the plug on this vital service, with almost no notice, and at a time which local councils clearly cannot provide a replacement?
The cut of 30% in funding for Surestart means that their website simply cannot provide this service.
Clearly the anti-cuts protests of 400,000 demonstrators in London yesterday are falling not only on deaf ears but on uncaring ears.
Mike Heal, Labour Candidate, Shaw and Nine Elms.