New LGA research on spend in children’s services

Commenting on the publication of a new report by the LGA, Stuart Gallimore, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“This is the latest in a growing line of reports which clearly illustrates the pressures councils up and down the land are experiencing in terms of rising levels of need for help and support against a backdrop of a 49% reduction in funding since 2010. Protecting children and young people from significant harm has been understandably prioritised but this has come at a cost, non-statutory prevention and early intervention services, such as children’s centres, have been eroded and are now seriously at risk. The government’s current approach to funding children’s services is incredibly short-sighted and I worry about the human and financial costs we are storing up for the future.

“The report demonstrates the complex reality of delivering children’s services and the multitude of factors influencing spend, from the contribution of partner agencies, how developed ‘early help’ arrangements are and the size of the child population to different financial reporting methods. There are two clear things that I take away from the report: it demonstrates impact of levels of poverty and deprivation and that variation in spend is due to a variety of factors which are largely out of the control of individual local authorities, busting the myth that there is enough money in the system, there is not. The government urgently needs to recognise the challenges we face and act before it is too late by plugging the £2 billion funding gap in children services, committing to a preventative approach to improving children’s outcomes and the development of a cross-departmental child poverty reduction strategy. Ultimately, although money is important, it’s also about valuing children and young people and giving them greater consideration in the development of policies.”

ENDS



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