Kirklees Council is to save £400,000 in a shake-up of how short break and respite services are provided for children and young people with additional needs.

The council’s Cabinet will approve the changes which will mean the loss of 12 jobs and the closure of a council building at a meeting on Tuesday March 12.

A report to Cabinet says that while the shake-up will see 12 full-time jobs go, seven of those are vacancies which have been left unfilled.

The council says that “due to the highly skilled nature of staff” those employees whose jobs are lost should have a good chance of redeployment elsewhere within the council.

The team is currently based at an outdated council building in Havelock Street, Ravensthorpe, but that will be closed and staff moved to the Orchard View children’s home in Mirfield, which has eight respite care beds.

The savings are part of the new council budget and will be implemented from April 1 2024. Around £261,000 will be saved immediately with a further £178,000 when the changes are completed this summer.

The council offers a range of services which provide short breaks, activities and overnight respite for children and young people and their families and carers.

It says the changes would “improve outcomes for children and families, provide support closer to home and ensure services are more tailored to individual needs.”

The council has consulted with families who asked for more use of community buildings nearer to their homes.

Clr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet member for children, said: “Children using the short breaks service have a range of different needs – such as autism, social and communication difficulties, and speech and language difficulties – and we want to support all of them in having the best start in life.

“The changes we are proposing would improve people’s access to these important services, which are not just vital to children and young people but are also highly valued by their families.

“We need to meet the changing needs and wishes of our families and this was reinforced by the consultation feedback.

“Each family’s circumstances are unique and, through the new model, bespoke plans would be developed and different options considered.

“We want existing services to work together more closely, helping the vulnerable in a way that’s also the most effective use of resources. Support for each child would be personalised and they would benefit from a range of experiences.

“The council will continue offering high-quality overnight respite where appropriate. Overall, our aim is for children to experience support and activities which enhance their lives, meet identified health and wellbeing needs and developing greater independence.”