Derby City Council (DCC) appointed Enventure Research to deliver a public consultation regarding the future of its Children’s Centre service. DCC is currently responsible for the management and service delivery of 17 Children’s Centres, but has proposed a number of changes to the service to help it save money in the future.
The aim of the consultation was to understand whether the proposals were viable and would enable the Council to continue to meet the needs of families with children under five in Derby, particularly those identified as most vulnerable.
A combined quantitative and qualitative approach to the research was chosen. A questionnaire was developed in partnership between DCC and Enventure Research which covered topics including Children’s Centre usage, opinions and feedback on the proposals, and the effect they would have on Children’s Centre usage, and other ideas for reducing the cost of the service. Background information was also provided within the questionnaire to give respondents further information about the Council’s financial position and the proposals for service delivery being considered.
The survey was hosted online and open to everyone who lived and worked in Derby, including those who worked or volunteered for the Children’s Centre service. In addition, paper copies of the questionnaire were also distributed to Children’s Centres and other Council-managed buildings across the city, along with pre-paid envelopes for respondents to return their questionnaires back to Enventure Research for data processing. The survey was available for completion in English, Urdu, Slovak, Punjabi and Polish online, and in paper format on request. Over the survey period, 473 responses were received, providing a robust sample size for analysis. A total of 186 responses (39%) were received online and 287 (61%) were received in paper format.
A series of focus groups and in depth telephone interviews was held to explore respondents’ views in greater detail. Two focus groups were held with Derby Children’s Centre service users, and two were held with key stakeholders with a professional interest in the Children’s Centre service. Participants were recruited via the paper and online surveys, and via a database of contact details supplied by the Council. Each group was attended by between five and six people, held in Children’s Centres across Derby, and lasted around 90 minutes.
A number of telephone interviews were undertaken with both users of the Children’s Centre service and key stakeholders. Participants were recruited via the same methods used for the focus group recruitment. Both focus groups and telephone interviews were moderated by Enventure Research, whose researchers used specifically designed discussion groups to discover the reasons behind the views on the proposals for future service delivery.
Results and Benefits to the Client
Upon completion of both aspects of the research, Enventure Research provided DCC with a detailed report on the findings, which will be used by the Council to further develop the proposals for the future of the Children’s Centre service and feed into the Council’s strategic review.
The report has been published online and can be found here.