To ask the Secretary of State for Education, by how much local authorities overspent on the provision of children’s social care in the year ending 31 March 2018; and what assessment he has made of the future financial sustainability of local government children’s services departments based on current levels of overspend.
Local authorities are required under Section 251 of the ‘Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009’ to submit education and children’s social care budget and expenditure statements. This data is published in statistical releases annually. The most recent release shows local authorities had a difference of approximately £1 billion in 2017-18 when their planned spend is compared to their actual spend.
Funding for children’s services is made available through the Local Government Finance Settlement. We are in the final year of a multi-year settlement deal and have made £46.4 billion available this year for local services including those for children’s services. The government has also made £410 million available to local authorities this year specifically for adult and children social care.
My department is working with the sector, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and with HM Treasury, as part of our preparation for the next Spending Review, to understand the level of funding local government needs to meet demand and deliver statutory duties.