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Social Services: Greater London

Department for Education written question – answered on 25th January 2019.

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Photo of Teresa Pearce Teresa Pearce Labour, Erith and Thamesmead

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children were referred to children’s social care for an assessment of need in (a) Greenwich and (b) Bexley in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what funding was provided for children’s services in (i) Greenwich and (ii) Bexley in each of the last five years for which figures are available.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The number of children referred to children’s social care is published in the annual ‘Characteristics of Children in need’ publication. The most recent publication is available on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need-2017-to-2018/ and a table summarising the last five years for Greenwich and Bexley is attached.

As children’s services are delivered through local government, the vast majority of their funding comes through the Local Government Finance Settlement. However, as the responsibilities, structure and makeup of local authorities and the Department for Education have changed a great deal since 2009, central funding [department spend] to local government and wider spending power measures therefore are not directly comparable over this period.

Over the 5 year period from 2015-16 to 2019-20, councils have access, through the Settlement, to over £200 billion to deliver local services. For Bexley and Greenwich this means core spending power of:

(Available figures)

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Bexley

£155,154,372

£157,014,982

£159,902,295

£162,024,253

Greenwich

£219,920,182

£226,780,981

£231,040,760

£233,211,791

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/final-local-government-finance-settlement-england-2018-to-2019.

This core spending power is un-ring fenced and it is for local authorities (LAs) to determine spend across different areas according to local priorities, including children’s services.

In addition to this the Autumn Budget announced a further £410 million in 2019-20 for LAs to invest in adult and children’s social care services. It also announced £84 million of extra funding, over the next five years, to support LAs to invest in initiatives that improve social work practice and decision making.

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