Major investment in children’s services should bring savings in future, council told

Rotherham’s soaring bill for child protection should ultimately lead to lower cost, but councilllors have been told “we need to hold our nerve” as the spend now to save later policy is implemented.

Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 09:02 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 09:07 am
Costs: Rotherham Council hopes investment today will bring savings later

Demand for help from the council over child protection, looked after children and children in need have all been rising, with the causes for increased pressure on services being attributed to a variety of causes.

It means the council spent more than intended in that area over the last 12 months, with the council due to invest a total of £16m more in children’s social care over the next two years.

Deputy Council Leader Gordon Watson said: “This year due to the large increase in demand for the children and young people’s budget we have spent more than we were allocated.

“That was due to demand,” he said.

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But work has now started which is being credited with helping to choke off the increases in demand over the last six months, a pattern the council expects to see continue into the future.

Coun Watson said the savings made would not appear on balance sheets, but did add up to real savings because there would be fewer candidates needing help which was expensive to provide in future.

The work “Has actually kept these numbers very much lower than they would have been,” he said.

“It doesn’t appear as a line on a budget, but it is an amount of money we don’t spend. It shows the direction of travel,” he said.

Work being done was beginning to have an impact, he said, “We need to hold our nerve.”

“When we put extra money into children’s services, it should bring the spend down in the medium term.

“It is disappointing it isn’t coming down any quicker but it is coming down in a sustainable way,” he said.