William Eichler 19 July 2019

Council chiefs warn SEN reforms will ‘break’ their budgets

Council chiefs warn SEN reforms will ‘break’ their budgets image

County council leaders have warned that reforms to expand special educational needs (SEN) services will ‘break’ their budgets.

Research by the County Councils Network (CCN) has revealed that the number of pupils on Education, Health, and Care Plans (EHCPs) has risen by almost 50,000 in just five years – an increase that has added more pressure on council budgets.

The Children and Families Act, introduced in 2014, made it compulsory for councils to provide EHCPs for young people with special educational needs up to the age of 25. This was up from 19.

CCN described these reforms as ‘well-intentioned’ but said their research had found that the 36 councils it represents have seen a 46% rise in the number of plans they are required to issue.

They also said that 27 county councils recorded a combined overspend of £123m in just one year in 2018-19 on their high needs block, which is a specific grant for children with special educational needs.

CCN argues that the rise in young people receiving EHCPs is impacting on the quality of services, with local authorities’ budgets being ‘stretched due to the extra burden’.

‘The Government’s reforms in the Children and Families Act five years ago were well intentioned and we support increasing the age range and the extra parental choice,’ said Cllr Carl Les, CCN children’s services and education spokesman.

‘However, these reforms have led to additional demand which has created a financial crisis for some local authorities, with huge rises seeing costs spiral out of control.

‘Counties already face funding gap of £21.5bn over the next five years and if we continue to overspend at the level we have done on will break many of our budgets.’

Cllr Les called on the Government to ‘urgently inject funding’ into SEN to help ease the financial pressures.

Participatory budgeting image

Participatory budgeting

Evgeny Barkov explains what participatory budgeting means and how it can reveal what citizens need.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Looked After Children and Vulnerable Young People

Enfield London Borough Council
Up to £89,319
 This is an exciting opportunity to lead all the services that support Enfield’s children in care and care leavers. Enfield (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Enfield London Borough Council

Head of Communities

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
to £61,751 (pay award pending)
We are looking for an innovative and knowledgeable senior professional to join our leadership team with strong experience of working in communities... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Economic Development Officer (Town Centres)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878 per annum
The Economic Development Officer (Town Centres) post forms part of the Council’s Business Focus team who provide help directly to businesses. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Educational Psychologist

Camden London Borough Council
£44,131 - £53,34
The ideal candidates will have an excellent understanding of psychological frameworks and their application in... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Economic Development Officer

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878
Are you interested in a challenge and want to help shape the future of North West Leicestershire? Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue