Daily roundup: Public funding, children's centres, and child protection

Neil Puffett
Friday, January 17, 2014

Errors found in Department for Education accounts; children's centres closure plans approved; and "exponential" increase in safeguarding referrals in Coventry after Daniel Pelka case, all in the news today.

The National Audit Office said there were "errors and uncertainties" in the Department for Education's accounts. Picture: Janaki Mahadevan
The National Audit Office said there were "errors and uncertainties" in the Department for Education's accounts. Picture: Janaki Mahadevan

Concerns have been raised about the Department for Education’s accounts by the government's spending watchdog. The BBC reports that the National Audit Office has "qualified" its signing off of the department's accounts for last year because of "errors and uncertainties". It says there are risks because the department is accountable for spending by academies over which it has no direct control.

The number of children’s centres in Rotherham will be reduced from 22 to nine under plans to save £2.2m. The Worksop Guardian reports that the move, approved by Rotherham Council on Wednesday, affects nearly 2,500 young people and their families.

Coventry’s social care team has experienced an "exponential increase" in the number of referrals since the Daniel Pelka case, the head of the department has said. The BBC reports that Brian Walsh said additional resources have been ploughed into the department to manage the increase, but warned that a repeat of the Daniel Pelka case cannot be ruled out in future.

Children from two estates in Nottinghamshire are set to benefit from a £180,000 project to provide more indoor and outdoor activities. The Nottingham Post reports that Nottinghamshire County Council has struck a deal with children's charity Barnardo's to run a three-year project for children aged between eight and 12 who are felt to be at risk of offending or have been missing too much school.

Youth work cutbacks in Durham could result in increased trouble on the streets, it has been claimed. The Teesdale Mercury reports that senior youth worker Keith Jones fears that Durham County Council plans to axe 250 youth workers – the equivalent of 15 full-time posts – could lead to a rise in antisocial behaviour.

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