Oftsed’s National director for Social Care, Yvette Stanley, has published a blog criticising Local Authority cuts to children’s services budgets.
Writing in a blog, she points out that spending per head on early help and preventative services overall has fallen by over 60% in real terms between financial years 2009–10 and 2016–17.
Whilst she acknowledges the reasons why LAs are focusing their resources mainly on specialist statutory services for families and children with the most serious problems, she highlights that this is a false economy that is likely to store up trouble for the future with unchecked family issues likely to eventually escalate.
She said ‘ There’s no escaping the fact that LAs, social workers and other frontline staff have to work in very challenging environments. They’re supporting larger numbers of families whose lives have been shaped by an inequality of experience and, frankly, an inability to access the very basics for successful daily living. Poor housing, mental ill health, substance misuse and domestic abuse continue to feature in most referrals to children’s social care.
But despite this context, all vulnerable children deserve the same good help, protection and care service, regardless of where they live. The bar for good judgements must relate to practice, not context. That’s the right thing for children’.
Read the blog here