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New data suggests almost one-third of council funding spent on children’s social care

New analysis by SIGOMA - the organisation representing 47 urban local authorities in the northern, midlands and south-coast regions of England, has revealed that almost one third of council spending is funding children’s social care putting extreme pressure on local authority finances.

The average SIGOMA member now spends 29 per cent of its Core Spending Power on children’s services compared to just 15 per cent in 2011/12. Across England’s upper tier councils, the average is now 27 per cent – increasing from 14 per cent from 2011/12.

The impact is being felt most severely in the poorest areas. Since, 2011/12, the 15 (top 10%) most deprived authorities have seen a more than doubling of spend on children’s services as a proportion of spending power, from 15 per cent to 31 per cent. Blackpool, the most deprived local authority in England, has seen a trebling in the proportion of spend from 15 per cent to 45 per cent.

Chair of SIGOMA, Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, said the significant rise in children’s services spend is causing more and more councils to be at risk of filing for bankruptcy.

Houghton said “These figures, published by the Government, reveal the significant pressures councils across the country are now facing, spending almost a third of their spending power on children’s services, a figure that has been rapidly rising over the last decade.”

“The market for children’s services is broken, and our members are telling us that some specialist placements for the most vulnerable children can cost as much as £1m per annum, with many costing between £250k and £750k. As more and more funding is being spent on social care there is less funding for the preventative services that can save money in the long-term, and the other services that residents value most.”

Houghton called upon the Chancellor to recognise the issue in his Autumn statement due to be published on Wednesday 22nd November.

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Published on 21st November 2023