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Start date: 2015-11-03
End date: 2015-12-14
Results: 2016-03-03

[ARCHIVED] Budget Proposal 2016/17 - Phase One: Primary Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (PCAMHS)

Part of the range of West Berkshire Council's budget proposals for 2016/17, with supporting information and Equality Impact Assessments

If you haven't already seen our video explaining why these changes are being proposed, please visit our Budget Proposals 2016/17 webpage.


Half of all lifetime mental health conditions first emerge before the age of 14 and three quarters by the age of 25. Nationally only 25% of children with a mental health condition receive any professional help. 

Currently, children and young people requiring extra mental health support are referred to a Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) single common point of entry. If they meet the criteria and threshold they are referred to Primary CAMHs workers who work at Tier 2, or Tier 3 and 4 interventions for more intense and specialist support.

In West Berkshire, children are waiting an average of a year to receive individual therapeutic care. Our specialist mental health services are hugely over-subscribed and under resourced.


The council currently contributes £80,000 to Berkshire Health Care Trust for one PCAMHS worker (including management and on costs). 

It is proposed to reduce this funding to £40,000 but redirect it into a new Emotional Health Academy, jointly funded with Public Health, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) (comprised from NHS staff and General Practitioners), Schools and philanthropic investment. The Academy will provide a central hub to coordinate early intervention emotional health across the District (and where appropriate, across our borders).

Eight emotional health workers will be employed and trained with management and supervision from the West Berkshire Council Educational Psychology Service (EPS) and clinical supervision from CAMHS. They will work in schools and GP surgeries across the District offering earlier intervention emotional health support and training. 

There is also a wide range of high quality voluntary sector organisations who offer early and non-stigmatising support in our communities. They will work in partnership with health and education colleagues to broaden the workforce.

Previous interventions and training offered exclusively by the EPS will be amalgamated into one coherent offer to schools, allowing a further £100,000 savings to be made from the EPS budget.

For children and young people with more severe mental health difficulties specialist CAMHS will remain, with additional funding from CCGs ensuring a swifter response.

What do we think the impact will be?

Initially the imperative will be to clear the backlog of children and families on the PCAMHS waiting list by offering quicker alternative therapeutic support. This could cause some confusion to parents.

Currently there are gaps in early intervention emotional health support for specific vulnerable groups e.g. those young people who are chronic school refusers due to mental health needs, or those young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and high levels of anxiety. We would wish to commission specific evidence-based interventions to meet these needs.

Once the Emotional Health Academy is fully operational the impact should be positive, as children and families will receive earlier support, in their communities, without having to meet thresholds or being placed on waiting lists.

What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

We considered leaving the current provision unchanged, but our view is that the service doesn't meet the needs of our children and young people; nor would leaving the service unchanged achieve a financial saving.

We also considered reducing funding to the service without re-designing it. We were clear that taking that option would make it more difficult for children and young people to access early help for their emotional health and we wanted to find ways to make it easier to get early help at the same time as lowering the cost.

As we developed our proposals, we involved many professional and community partners with an interest in children and young people's mental health, and we have used their input to think of a range of different ways of doing this work. We think the proposals we have come up with bring together the best of these ideas.

This consultation is closed.

What you told us

We received 8 responses to this consultation.

We have condensed all your comments into the 'Summary of Responses' and everything you said, word for word, is contained in 'Verbatim Responses'.

These can be found in 'Documents' below.

What we did

A recommendation on how to proceed with this proposal was made to the Executive Members on  11 February 2016.

This can also be found below in 'Overview and Recommendation'.

Following this, at the Full Council Meeting on 1 March 2016, all Members discussed this proposal as part of setting the Revenue Budget for 2016/17.

At the vote, the budget was agreed with the suggested amendments.

It was agreed to proceed with this proposal.

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