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New report explores how ‘devolved budgets’ might be used by Children’s Social Care to provide resources to families and reduce the need for care.

Cardiff University has released new report evaluating devolved budget pilots across three local authorities in England.

The report contrasts pilot schemes in Hillingdon, Darlington and Wigan offering insights about the different approaches used to implementing devolved budgets.

Whilst Hillingdon used the funds to help adolescents, mainly those at risk of extra-familial harms related to various forms of exploitation, Darlington worked with families with children who were at risk of care entry. Wigan used devolved budgets with families where the goal was reunification from care, and families where children were at high risk of entering care. Decision-making about expenditure was devolved to frontline social workers to some extent in all three pilots.

The report outlines eight key findings across the pilots highlighting that all were successful in providing resources to families quickly, without bureaucracy and at lower cost.

Findings also point to the fact that staff were able to respond more creatively to the needs of their families bringing clear benefits for both children and families. Additionally, perspectives on interventions used were broadly positive.

Read the Executive Summary to the report here.