Threat to nurseries lifted as union plan emerges Council halts proposal to offload 14 Birmingham nurseries
THE threat of closure for 14 Birmingham nurseries has been lifted for now by Birmingham City Council after it halted plans to offload them.
The authority was set to announce a proposal to withdraw as the provider for the facilities to save £1 million a year – but they are now considering an alternative business case put forward by the union GMB.
The nurseries are all rated ‘good’ or better by Ofsted and serve just over 400 children a week.
They also employ around 70 council staff, 18 school workers, and 32 employees for either Spurgeons charity or South and City College.
In a draft report, the council argued that none of the nurseries break even and stated there was an oversupply of places in the city.
Nevertheless, it invited expressions of interest from private, voluntary and independent organisations to run the 14 in question.
Twenty six providers have come forward, half of those have held further talks with council officers.
The 14 nurseries are Bertram Road, Birchfield, Cherry Tree, Golden Start, Kitts Green, Ladywood, Lime Tree, Oaklands Park, Park Road, Reameadow, Soho Road, St Benedict’s, Summerfield and Sunshine.
But any move to offload them is now on hold while the council considers the proposals put forward by childcare workers union, the GMB, which had gathered a 1,500-name petition against the outsourcing.
Regional organiser Gill Ogilvie said: “We’re delighted that the council has seen sense and put a pause on the privatisation of Birmingham’s day nurseries, which are a lifeline for so many. Our fight to ensure these vital services are delivered in the public sector is not over yet, but this is a significant step forward.
“Now it’s time for our practical and sustainable alternative plan, which has received huge support from parents and staff, to get the proper consideration it deserves.
“We now hope that councillors will work with us to progress our proposals and, together, much-needed community provision in Birmingham.”
The council confirmed now consider GMB’s plans.
A spokeswoman said: “A report was due to be presented to cabinet in October outlining the proposals regarding the council-run day nurseries. We wanted to brief staff, unions, media and parents so they could fully understand our position and what it would mean for them. support nursery it would
“However, this is a fast-moving situation and we continue to negotiate with unions and staff.
“We have been offered an alternative proposal by the GMB union.
“It is only right that we look at this proposal to see whether it is a viable alternative to our current proposal.
“We have committed to work with all trades unions over the next four weeks to look at the detail and agree a way forward that we can collectively support.”
> An alternative business case has been put forward by the GMB to save the Birmingham nurseries