Children, schools and families (CSF)


Play consultation:

phase I, 28 March – 21 May 2011 (completed)

phase II, August/October 2011

Thank you for your participation in the first phase of the play consultation, including the Daycare Trust survey. It helped us understand more about who uses our services and provided ideas for how to deliver the service in the future. The findings of the consultation were included in the report to Cabinet on 20 July 2011. The Cabinet's decision to approve the proposals were confirmed by councillors on 15 August.  

For more details about the play service visit


Remodel play service to meet needs of most vulnerable.


General fund

2011/12: £0 million
2012/13: £2.200 million
2013/14: £2.800 million

Brief description, impact and risk

To review play provision in Camden recognising that a universal service is no longer affordable and not a statutory requirement. The Council will withdraw from direct provision and instead commission a smaller number of play services from the voluntary sector.

These services will be focused on vulnerable families, supporting children in need and children with disabilities. This move to a commissioned service will significantly reduce both the overall cost of the service and the current high unit costs.

This provision is not a statutory requirement and schools and others already offer a range of after school activities providing choice to families as part of extended activities. The Council will work with schools to aim to ensure there is a sufficient offer for working families.

The proposals are for the Council to:

  • stop directly providing breakfast and after school clubs in schools
  • stop providing directly managed universal after school and holiday provision in in-house play centres and services delivered by the play service within schools.
  • stop providing the current range of transitions (activities for eight to 13 year olds) and specialist projects in March 2012.
  • amalgamate quality assurance function with other parts of the CSF directorate
  • end current contracts with voluntary and community sector providers in March 2012, and recommission a smaller number of targeted play services from the voluntary sector focusing on supporting vulnerable children and families.

Further work will be done, linking to place shaping and area review work, to maximise the future use of play service assets for the local community.

An initial equality impact screening has been undertaken that has indicated that a full equality impact assessment is necessary. This will be carried out after the consultation is complete and will inform the final decision. 

These savings proposals were agreed by Cabinet in December 2010, subject to a further Cabinet decision in July 2011 on implementation.


To agree the savings above subject to a further Cabinet decision in 2011 on detailed implementation following consultation.

Proposed timeline

Play audit and phase I consultation, including stakeholders meetings, Daycare Trust parental survey: Jan – May 2011
Daycare Trust service user survey report: May 2011
Cabinet meeting (play service report): 20 Jul 2011 (confirmed on 15 Aug)
Phase II consultation: Aug / Oct 2011 

Cabinet meeting (final decision/procurement initiation): 7 Dec 2011
Procurement: Dec 2010 – Jun 2012
Cabinet meeting (contract awarded): 8 Jun 2012
VCS contracts end following extension: Mar 2012
Transitions projects end: Mar 2012
Schools provision ends (after-school, breakfast clubs): Jul 2012
Universal provision in play centres ends: Aug 2012
New commissioned service begins: Sep 2012. 

More information

The full details of the proposals can be read in the medium term financial strategy

We want to work with you at this difficult time and make sure you have access to the right information. Over the coming months councillors will be out in the community talking to local people about how the national cuts in public spending will impact council services in Camden.

Alongside the wider engagement with the community about the proposals as a whole, there will be a formal consultation process for those services where we have a legal duty to consult.

We are committed to making sure you are well informed about the proposed changes to services, and have opportunities to feedback your views.

Would you like to provide feedback?(Click to show feedback form)

Please rate this page to help us improve Please don't include your contact details as we are unable to provide responses via this form. To get in touch please click here.

Please select one of the options.

Thank you for your feedback.