Resources & Sustainability Summer 2015 Update

The Association’s Resources and Sustainability Policy Committee last met on Thursday 19 March and discussed in detail the pressures being put on school places by population increases and the rising demand for child protection services against a backdrop of shrinking budgets and a raft of new burdens. While many councils have managed to protect vital services from the worst of the cuts to date there was recognition that this will no longer be possible going forward.

Richard Selwyn, member of the committee, has written a thought-provoking paper about some of the indicators of the future shape of children’s services and the kind of changes to practice and leadership that might be needed. The committee reviewed the latest draft and felt it would be beneficial to supplement this with some specific examples of how some of the underlying principles it raises are being applied in practice in local areas.

The committee also discussed undertaking a piece of work with LGA on a suite of papers with overarching narrative about the indicators of the future models of children’s services, what they might mean for children, staff and leaders and therefore what is necessary to run the system effectively, sustainably and ethically, let alone legally. To include:

  • Sense of recent new burdens on local authorities and (under) funding as well as new or increasing demand / focus on particular existing areas
  • What kind of models are, might or must emerge and what this means for service-users, with suggestions about the safeguards / accountability issues / opportunities / most appropriate services / approaches
  • Associated ‘in practice’ guide(s) to the reality of demand management and achieving earlier help, particularly engaging the community and services beyond social care
  • A mature narrative about the reality of risk management and level of intervention by the state that can be expected going forward with reduced resources and rising demand.

The group also discussed how best to support the Health, Care and Additional Needs and Workforce Committee to shape the DfE and Cabinet Office’s newly announced Commissioning Academy for Children’s Social Care, how best to articulate ‘fair funding’ principles and how to continue to support the Educational Achievement Committee and LGA to make representations about capital and revenue funding to meet the significant challenge of increasing pupil places in the right areas and in ways which don’t disadvantage certain children, particularly those with SEND.


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