LGA warns children’s services at ‘tipping point’

9 Nov 18

Children’s services are at a “tipping point” as social services in England take on 1,000 new child cases every day, councils have warned.

Local authorities must receive more funding to meet demand for children services with 382,180 children being referred to social services in England in 2017-18, the Local Government Association said.

The most common reasons for a child being identified as needing social care support were abuse or neglect (53%), family dysfunction (15.%) and a child’s disability or illness (9%).

The LGA said the £410m announced in the Budget for adult and children’s social care in 2019-20 was not enough.

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said: “A lack of long-term funding is pushing children’s services to a tipping point, and threatens to undermine the vital support councils provide in protecting children and keeping them safe from harm.

“While it was good the chancellor announced some new money in the Budget, this will not tackle the immediate and future pressures on services.”

She added that next year’s Spending Review needed to “deliver a long-term sustainable funding solution”.

Philip Hammond’s Budget also included £84m over five years to expand children’s social care programmes in 20 local authority areas.

Meanwhile, the housing, communities and local government committee has launched an inquiry into funding and provision of local authorities’ children’s services.

The committee said spending on statutory children’s services has increased by 3.2% between 2010-11 and 2016-17 but overall spending on children’s services fell by 7% in the same period due to cuts for discretionary services such as Sure Start centres.

Committee chair Clive Betts said: “Over the last decade, services such as Sure Start and youth services have been significantly cut back as local authorities have targeted urgent services over long-term prevention.

“We have launched this inquiry to understand the consequences of current funding levels. How well are local authorities able to tackle the most urgent child safety cases, and how are they looking at the long term and addressing their causes.”

Government figures published in September showed that planned spend on children’s Sure Start centres has fallen by 36% since 2014-15.

In August, the County Councils Network calculated an overspend by English councils of £800m on children’s services.

Did you enjoy this article?