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.

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Building Services Engineer

Redbridge London Borough Council
£42,684.00 £45,585.00
An exciting opportunity has arisen for 2 Building Services Engineers to assist in maintaining the Council's Property Portfolio. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Statutory Compliance Officer

Redbridge London Borough Council
£31,548.00 - £33,291.00
This is an exciting time for the London Borough of Redbridge; we are at the heart of regeneration and change in East London, with... Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Planning Officer

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band E, £25,295 - £28,785
Are you an enthusiastic and self-motivated team player who wants to make a major contribution to the work of our Planning and Development Team? Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Brokerage Officer x2

Redbridge London Borough Council
£33,291.00 - £34,794.00
We are looking for someone whois highly numerate, and able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Education Support Officer - Sandwell Young Carers

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£17,802 per annum
If you would like to make a real difference to the lives of the young carers of... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how public sector organisations can unlock the hidden value in their land, and why a new approach to construction could help boost the outcomes of the Government’s One Public Estate programme.

The December issue also considers why learnings from ancient cities could provide the key to promoting wellbeing in the modern built environment. It also contains a case study on how the London Borough of Westminster has provided high quality care for the elderly alongside a block of luxury apartments.

Register for your free digital issue