Children and Education Services Budget 2021/22
- Meeting of Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 10th February, 2021 10.00 am (Item 8a)
Report of the Strategic Director for Children and Education Services
This report provides updated Children and Education Services 2021/22 budget proposals that reflect the feedback and decision(s) from the scrutiny and Executive meetings that were held in January 2021.
The Committee received two reports of the Strategic Director for Children and Education Services. The first report provided updated Children and Education Services 2021/22 budget proposals that reflected the feedback and decisions from the scrutiny and Executive meetings that were held in January 2021. The second report provided a summary of the confirmed Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) allocation from the 2021/22 settlement announced on the 17December 2020 and the budget allocation across individual school budgets and the Council’s retained schools
budgets which was reported to the Schools Forum on 18 January 2021.
The main points and themes within the Children and Education Services Budget report included:
- Background and context;
- Revenue Strategy;
- Directorate Revenue Budget 2021/22;
- Our Corporate Plan and Business Plan;
- Impact on Workforce, Residents, Risk Management and Legal
The main points and themes within the School Budget report included:
- DSG 2021/22 settlement;
- Distribution of the grant across educational establishments and Council
retained budgets; and
- High needs pressures.
Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:
- To thank the Executive for taking on board the Committee’s concerns about the proposal for the revised parenting commission and to welcome that this proposal had been removed;
- Concern about the longer-term impact of the pandemic on the Council’s budget and on children and families;
- Trends in terms of the number of Looked After Children (Our Children) and the associated costs of placements; and
- The impact of the proposed cut to funding for interventions to support the improvement of maintained schools.
The Strategic Director for Children and Education Services informed the Committee that none of the proposals were without risk but that officers had tried to manage and mitigate that risk and were working within a clear strategy of early intervention and improved, targeted commissioning to avoid higher costs later on. He advised that it was difficult to predict future trends, particularly the long-term impact of COVID-19, and that relatively small changes in the number of children who were Looked After, particularly those requiring external residential provision, would have a large impact on the budget. He informed Members that significant savings had already been made due to a reduction in the number of Our Children who were placed in external residential provision. He reported that, since the start of the pandemic, there had been an increase in requests for Early Help and lower level interventions and that steps were being taken to strengthen this area which, he advised, should help to prevent the escalation of needs to the point where statutory intervention was required. He outlined how the budget from the decommissioned Families First service had been reinvested to strengthen early intervention. He suggested that the Committee scrutinise the service’s work on the key areas of early intervention, prevention and care planning over the next 12 to 18 months to assess how much impact this work was having. He advised that the number of children becoming Looked After had decreased and that this was likely to be because the service’s strategy was working; however, he recognised that there were unknown factors, particularly with so many children not being in school, although he advised that schools were working very hard to engage with children who were not in school and that decisions had been taken to enable vulnerable children to attend school during lockdown.
In response to a Member’s question, the Director of Education clarified that the proposal at 4.36 in the report related to interventions where there was a concern about a maintained school and did not affect the grants which schools received to fund work around subjects such as Physical Education and Music.
1. To thank the Executive for taking on board the Committee’s views about the proposal for the revised parenting commission.
2. To express concern at the current financial situation which necessitates these budget reductions and the lack of certainty over the Council’s future position and to note that it is hoped that next year the Council will be able to set a longer-term budget to enable the service to plan more effectively for the longer term.
[Ms Samantha Barnwell declared a personal interest as a member of the Manchester Parent Carer Forum.]
- Children and Education Services Budget Report 2021-2022, item 8a PDF 613 KB
- Appendix 1 - Subjective Analysis, item 8a PDF 13 KB
- Appendix 2 - Children Grants, item 8a PDF 93 KB