Children’s services funding and spending 2017/18

Monday 18 February 2019
Young girl in colourful dress

Funding for children’s and young people’s services has fallen 29% since 2010. As councils try to limit the impact of cuts to frontline services an unsustainable funding gap has emerged and will reach £3 billion by 2025

Our last report found worrying trends in cuts to funding and local authority spending. Our new analysis shows the ongoing pressure councils are facing as demand for help continues to rise. This year’s Spending Review provides an opportunity for central government to address the funding crisis facing local authorities.

Full report

Key findings

  • Local authority spending on early intervention services for children and young people, such as children’s centres, has fallen from £3.7 billion to £1.9 billion between 2010/11 and 2017/18 – a 49% reduction.
  • Local authority spending on late intervention services, such as child protection and safeguarding, has risen from £5.9 billion to £6.6 billion - a 12% rise.
  • Funding for children and young people’s services for the most deprived local authorities has fallen almost twice as fast as for the least deprived. In the most deprived local authorities, spending has fallen almost five times faster than the least deprived.
  • There is a North-South divide in the scale of cuts in funding and reductions in local authority spending. The North East has seen the largest reductions in funding between 2010-11 and 2017/18, followed closely by Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West. In the same period, London has seen the largest regional fall in local authority spending with the South East and South West seeing the smallest reductions across England.

What needs to happen?

  • We need central government to provide additional funding for children and young people’s services in the Spending Review to address the estimated £3bn funding gap facing local authorities by 2025.
  • When allocating funding central government has to ensure that there is a clear link between the likely level of need and the level of funding available in each local area.
  • We also need to ensure that the funding allocated is enough so that all local authorities have the resources to sustain a consistent offer of early intervention.