“The funding announced, while helpful, falls short of addressing the £1.6 billion shortfall – estimated prior to inflation – required each year simply to maintain current service levels."
Responding to the Government’s children’s social care implementation strategy, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:
“Much of this strategy is positive, including its focus on earlier help, support that builds on the strengths within a child’s wider family network, and greater ambition for children in care and care leavers, which are all areas where we can make an enormous difference. We’re also pleased it intends to address the high and costly churn of agency workers, which does not always deliver the best for children.
“Taking a ‘test-and-learn’ approach to the implementation of the reforms gives us the opportunity to ensure we get this right. However many of these are longer term measures, which while important, will not tackle the crisis that children’s social care faces right now. There is urgent need for immediate action.
“The funding announced, while helpful, falls short of addressing the £1.6 billion shortfall – estimated prior to inflation – required each year simply to maintain current service levels.
“Much of the additional funding committed in this strategy will go to pathfinder and pilot areas. This means that children living in the majority of the country will not benefit from the level of additional funding that the care review and our own analysis have demonstrated is desperately needed. We already have a significant amount of evidence about what works, including that developed through the Department for Education’s own innovation programme.
“Significant additional funding for all councils, not just those in pathfinder areas, can be wisely invested in stabilising the current system to ensure strong foundations on which to build future reform.
“We also look forward to the Department following this strategy by setting out its response to the SEND review.”
Notes to editors
The Care Review recommended an additional investment of at least £2.6 billion over four years, prior to the impact of inflation, to improve the system to better meet children’s needs.
Despite increasing their budgets by £708 million in 2020/21, councils still overspent their budgets by £800 million that year, indicating the scale of pressure on the system.