Secure accommodation funding cut

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NUMBERS of young people on remand in secure units provided by Sheffield Council have fallen.

Figures released by the authority show a 40 per cent fall in individual cases where accommodation was required between 2009/10 and 2011/12.

But a report to Sheffield Council’s cabinet revealed its children and young people’s service budget is facing an unplanned £171,000 overspend this year due to an increase in numbers – and a reduction in funding from the Youth Justice Board, which covers part of the cost.

The council normally houses up to 10 young people at any time, but the number fluctuates.

Overall nights of accommodation provided were 3,722 for 91 individuals in 2009/10; 3,434 nights to 79 people in 2010/11 and 2,382 nights for 53 people in 2011/12.

The figure for 2012/13 so far is unavailable.

The council said the costs of remands for young people are met jointly by the local authority and the board, which oversees a budget on behalf of the council.

The council said, ‘given the nature of remands, which are dictated by the courts and therefore difficult the predict’, it is not unusual for the budget set aside for these purposes to be under the actual amount at the year end.

Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “The Coalition Government is cutting the budget to the board and so the council has to find more instead.”