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NAO report - pressures on children’s social care

NAO report DfE pressures on children’s social care

Responding to the NAO report on pressures on children’s social care Stuart Gallimore, ADCS President, said:

“Yet another report illustrates the increasing pressures facing children and children’s services across the country, we urge government to heed these messages and act by urgently investing in children and their futures. Since 2010, funding for local authorities has been halved, at the same time more and more families are reaching crisis point and require our help and support. It is clear from the report that the drivers of demand for our services are not fully understood by the Department for Education nor is the variation in spend despite this being a frequent line of inquiry. Local authorities are continuously being pushed to make savings yet many of the factors fuelling need for help, and influencing spend, such as rising child poverty, deprivation and the increasing prevalence of domestic abuse, substance misuse and poor parental mental health are not within our gift to influence. Only changes to national policy and a prioritisation of children and families can turn the tide on demand for children’s services. A national child poverty reduction strategy would be a good starting point – England is the only country in the UK without one. Similarly, one off, time limited funding pots that local authorities must bid for are not the solution. This favoured approach is neither a sustainable nor an equitable solution. Funding should always be tied to need not the quality of a bid.

“Understandably, local authorities have responded to the financial pressures we face by prioritising spend on statutory services, but this has been at the expense of vital preventative services. The financial pressures we face are such that many children and families have reached crisis point before we can step in and help. This is a false economy and goes against many principles underpinning the Children Act 1989. I worry about the huge human, and financial, costs this is storing up for the future. We have worked hard to innovate and reshape our services to make savings and efficiencies but there is nowhere left to go now. The services we will have to cut in the next spending round are likely to make outcomes for children and families worse not better – this cannot be right.”


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