Thank you for contacting me about funding for local children's services.
I care deeply about the services our children receive and want to ensure that they have a future in which they can grow and thrive.
I appreciate your concerns about the funding for these services, and likewise I am pleased that at the 2018 Autumn Budget the Chancellor made an additional £410 million available to local authorities to ease cost pressures for both children and adult social care.
Furthermore, I welcome that £84 million has been allocated over a period of five years to assist up to 20 local authorities to enhance their social care services, ensuring that they are able to engage more effectively with those who need support the most.
However, I do also recognise that there needs to be a longer term solution to ensure sustainable funding for children's social services. I am assured that in preparation for the upcoming Spending Review, the Government is collaborating with the sector to establish an intricate understanding of the costs and funding pressures facing children's social services, for example through launching ambitious data research projects and developing up-to-date funding formulas. This will help to ensure that the decisions made at the Spending Review on the allocation of funding to local authorities are taken on the basis of the most comprehensive evidence.
Most welcome of all with regard to West Dorset, is the news that the new Unitary Council aims to increase spending on children’s services by almost £6 million per year – which should, at long last, begin to cure the deficit that has arisen, and thereby liberate much needed additional funding for our hard pressed schools.
I hope this letter has provided a measure of reassurance, and I will continue to closely monitor funding levels for children's social services.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.