This government has made available over £200 billion for local services in England over the current five-year spending period (from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020).
Funding for children’s services is a non-ringfenced part of the wider local government finance settlement. It is for councils to decide how best to use their settlement funding to meet their statutory duties and deliver the local services their communities want to see.
Funding for local government services, including children’s services, is set initially at the spending review. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the next spending review will be in 2019. To help ensure decisions at the next spending review are based on the best available evidence, the government is working with the sector to develop a thorough understanding of children’s services costs and pressures.
The annual settlement helps determine the distribution of that funding to councils using an assessment of relative needs and resources, which includes a children’s services funding formula. In preparation for the spending review, and as part of the government’s review of relative needs and resources, new, up-to-date formulas are being developed to ensure funding distribution to councils is based on the best available evidence. The Department for Education and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have commissioned an ambitious data research project from independent contractors to inform this work.