Turner Cllr Christine Turner, the Executive Member for Supporting Children and Families on Traffford Council, on how the Big Society is delivering more for less wwith Children's Centres

Trafford has for many years provided the best possible start in life for children and young people. Our Grammar and High school system produces the best results in the North West (for all children, irrespective of background or parental wealth), whilst our Children's social services are rated as 'excellent' – one of only 2 local authorities in the region in this category. Trafford also provides incredible value for money – we produce the best results with the lowest per pupil funding in Greater Manchester, whilst the integration of social care with health and education (the only example in the North West) has reduced management and administration costs as well as improving outcomes.

The same goes for our childrens' centres. Under Conservative control, Trafford’s 16 Sure Start centres continue to thrive, providing an exceptionally high standard of services to parents across the Borough. One centre recently received an 'outstanding' judgement for the quality and effectiveness of their provision.

Trafford plans to maintain all of its children’s centres, despite scaremongering from the local Labour MP, Kate Green, to suggest otherwise.

Local Conservative Councillors have undertaken a systematic review to reduce management and administration costs and target support to the most vulnerable, focussing on key target groups and families in Trafford's more deprived wards (two of which are some of the most deprived in the country).

On top of this, parents have been encouraged to support the delivery of services – volunteers go through a selection and induction process and receive training and mentoring support. The Council is currently working with each Children’s Centre to identify how we can expand this programme to meet the need of the children and community that each centre serves. We will continue to grow the number of volunteers as it offers all residents an opportunity to develop their skills and experience and contribute to even better outcomes for local children – a real example of the Big Society at work.

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