Children's services funding and spending
Funding for children's and young people's services has fallen by 23% since 2010
Along with an overall reduction in funding, there has also been a notable change in funding per child and young person. In 2010/11, estimated funding per child and young person was £571 but by 2018/19 this had fallen to £425 .
- Funding available for children's services has fallen by £2.2 billion between 2010/11 - 2018/19, a 23% reduction.
- As a result, councils simply cannot afford to pay for early intervention services, leading to spending on early help dropping by almost half (46%) during this period.
- At the same time, local authority spending on children's services fell by £536 million, a 6% reduction.
- Local authority spending on late intervention services for children and young people has risen from £5.6 billion to £7.2 billion between 2010/11 and 2018/19 – a 29% increase.
- There is a North-South divide in the scale of cuts in funding and reductions in local authority spending. The North East saw the largest reductions in funding between 2010/11 and 2018/19 followed closely by London, then Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West. In the same period, spending in the North of England (-9%) has fallen three times as fast than in the South (-3%).
- At the start of the decade, late intervention, including child protection teams and youth justice services, accounted for 58% of local authority spending on children and young people’s services. This had risen to 78% by 2018/19.
- The biggest increase in spending was for services for children in care, soaring by 40% from 2010/11 to 2018/19.
Where do we go from here?
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.
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.