Children: Social Services

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of changes in the level of Government funding of local authorities on the effectiveness of children's services in local authorities in England.

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

Funding for children’s services is made available through the Local Government Finance Settlement which gives local authorities flexibility to target spending according to local needs and to fulfil their statutory responsibilities, including services for children and families. Through the Settlement, the government has made available over £200 billion across the 5 year spending period. For 2019-20 this means an increase in core spending power from £45.1 billion in 2018-19 to £46.4 billion.

At Autumn Budget my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an extra £410 million to address pressures on adult and children social care services. A further £84 million, over five years, was also announced. This funding will support up to 20 local authorities to improve their social work practice and decision-making, enabling them to work more effectively with the most vulnerable children and their families. This builds on our almost £270 million improvement and innovation programmes that help local authorities deliver effective children’s services. This includes 98 projects which have enabled local authorities to develop, test and scale new approaches to supporting vulnerable children in the social care system. 20 of our best local authorities are also working with the government as ‘Partners in Practice’ sharing their knowledge of what excellent children’s social care looks like to improve the quality of services across the country.

Local authority effectiveness has also been rising. Since January 2018, Ofsted have judged 12 local authorities as no longer inadequate and 5 local authorities have been rated outstanding.

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