ADCS president-elect warns cuts could increase demand for care

By Derren Hayes

| 06 January 2015

Local authorities may no longer be able to protect children's services from the worst of funding cuts over the coming year, the next president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) has warned.

ADCS vice president Alison O'Sullivan says children's services needs "sustainable investment"

Writing for CYP Now’s 2015 Report, Alison O’Sullivan, ADCS vice president and the association's president elect for 2015/16, said likely further reductions to local authority budgets in 2015 could see services eroded to such a degree that it leads to more children needing care.

O’Sullivan, director of children’s services at Kirklees Council, said: “While most councils have protected vital services to children from the worst of the cuts to date, this will no longer be possible for many going forward.

“Non-statutory prevention and early intervention services have been eroded and are now seriously at risk.

“There has been great innovation in the redesign of children’s centres and early intervention with schools, but my fear is that without sustainable investment, our capacity to prevent the need for care will soon be gone.”

O’Sullivan’s comments follow the release last month of the draft local government funding settlement for 2015/16, which proposes a £141m reduction in children’s early intervention services cash for English councils.

Her concerns about the impact of cuts on services were echoed by Children England chief executive Kathy Evans.

Also writing for CYP Now, Evans said the “fate” of vulnerable children served by councils and voluntary organisations “relies on a core offer of well-resourced, reliable public services”.

She said the year looks set to present increased financial challenges for many children's charities, particularly those reliant on local authority funding.

“Sustaining the voluntary sector’s work will be tough, but the real challenge will be to stand shoulder to shoulder with our statutory colleagues to fight the prospect of yet more devastating Whitehall cuts to local authorities and public services,” Evans added.

The Local Government Association has calculated that since 2010 funding for English councils has fallen by 40 per cent in real terms.

CYP Now's 2015 Report includes contributions from 12 experts on the key decisions and professional challenges facing the children's services sector over the coming year. To read the full report, click here

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