Local authorities increased spending on children and young people’s services to £9.2 billion in 2016-17. The government provides funding annually for children’s services through the general, ‘Local Government Finance Settlement’ approved by Parliament. Children’s services funding is not ring-fenced within the wider settlement.
The Local Government Association’s analysis is based on changes to elements of local government funding that can be spent on children’s services (including core council tax, locally retained business rates, the Revenue Support Grant and the Education Services Grant). It also includes a potential increase in demand for services arising from population trends and inflation.
The government recognises the role that councils play in providing services such as children’s social care. Local authorities in England will have access to more than £200 billion to deliver these services between 2015-16 and 2019-20. This year’s finance settlement for local government will see a real term increase in resources available to councils, from £44.3 billion in 2017-18 to £45.6 billion in 2019-20. Local authorities will have two years of real term increases in resources.
To help the children’s social care sector innovate and re-design service delivery to achieve higher quality and better value for money, the department has invested £200 million since 2014 in our ‘Innovation Programme’ and ‘Partners in Practice Programme’. As part of this, the department has committed £20 million to provide additional support to local authorities where the risk of service failure is highest.