More funding is needed to support our children’s services
Prospects sponsored a roundtable event at the Local Government Association (LGA) Annual Conference with the Municipal Journal. The roundtable chaired by MJ’s Editorial Director Mike Burton, brought together a number of local authority chief executives across England to discuss the increasing funding crisis facing children’s services.
The roundtable took place against the background of LGA analysis that the number of children subject to protection plans has doubled over the last decade, while children’s services face a £2bn funding gap by 2020. The Government maintains that while there is a significant variation of spend between councils then more efficiencies can be found. On the the eve of the Conference, the LGA published a report demonstrating that much of that gap can be explained by a number of social economic factors including deprivation.
The roundtable discussed the implications of that report with the chief executives around the table sharing their own experiences of the funding pressures they face in relation to looked-after-children and safeguarding services which has overtaken adult social care as a key concern for them and their colleagues across the country.
Prospects’ Chief Executive, Nick Bell, welcomed the LGA report in addressing the Government’s criticism head-on, concluding that there is now a pressing case to increase overall expenditure for children’s services.
A key theme discussed was the societal factors driving up the numbers of children being taken into care and placed under safeguarding arrangements. Alison Williams, Prospects’ Executive Director for Young People and Families, pointed to the shocking levels of domestic violence within families and towards young girls.
In the coming weeks the Municipal Journal will be publishing a report of the roundtable.