Laura Sharman 17 July 2015

Councils ‘turning their back’ on care leavers

Councils ‘turning their back’ on care leavers image

Councils are failing to support young people leaving their care, with two-thirds providing inadequate services, according to the public spending watchdog.

A damning report from the National Audit Office reveals that the system for supporting care leavers is not working effectively, with the number of care leavers in employment, education and training ‘deteriorating’ since 2007-08.

Meg Hillier, chair of the Committee of Public Accounts: ‘It seems that some local authorities are turning their back on young people leaving their care, when two-thirds (64%) of local authority services for care leavers have been rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requiring improvement’ since November 2013 and that only 8 out of 151 authorities know where all of their care leavers are living and whether they are participating in employment, education or training.’

The report also found that while local authorities spend an average of £6,250 for each care leaver in 2013-14, there is ‘minimal correlation’ between spending and service quality. This average spend also varies from £300 to £20,000 per young person.

Ms Hillier added: ‘It’s surprising that the Department for Education is unable to explain why the average amount local authorities said they spent on each care leaver varied so wildly from £300 to £20,000 in 2013-14. Even more concerning is that no relationship is found between how much local authorities report they spend and the quality of the support given to care leavers.’

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils were doing all they could to support care leavers but the growing number of children in care was presenting an ‘increasing challenge’. A spokesman said: ‘Councils cannot do this alone and we desperately need to see the whole system properly funded and joined-up to ensure children and young people receive the support when they need it.

‘It is vitally important that government departments work better together to continue the work to tackle our ineffective and fragmented mental health system and ensure young people can access good quality mental health support when they need it.

‘Interpreting how much councils spend on individual young people through national spending figures is extremely misleading and does not provide an accurate picture of what is being done in local areas as all councils record their expenditure differently.’

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

Assistant Director Property

East Sussex County Council
Up to £86,000 (pay award pending)
Your track record of leading change will equip you to position Property Services as a true, collaborative partner delivering a... East Sussex
Recuriter: East Sussex County Council

Hylands Manager

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 10 - Starting at £43,836 per annum and rising to £48,309
This is a rare and exciting opportunity for an exceptional candidate to create and deliver a vision for Hylands House to ensure it can reach it’s f... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Assistant Traffic Management & Road Safety Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
£22,021 to £26,999
We are looking for an Assistant Engineer to join our Traffic Engineering team. The Traffic Engineering Team forms part of... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Regulatory Lawyer Solicitor - Selby

Selby District Council
£32,029 to £42,683 pro rata.
We are looking for a Solicitor/Barrister who can join our supportive team to provide legal support to Selby District Council and... Selby, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: Selby District Council

Trainee Solicitor

North Yorkshire County Council
£22,021 to £24,313
To be successful you must... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County 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