Pro Bono Economics – Written evidence (PSC0076) 

 

To contribute to your inquiry into the funding of children’s services, Pro Bono Economics has conducted new research into the changes to children’s services funding that have been made over the past decade. In particular, we have undertaken analysis of how changes to early intervention spending on children’s services by local authorities – including children’s centres, family support services and services for young people – have developed across the country.

Over the last decade, real terms spending on early intervention services by local authorities has declined by 48%. However, those cuts have played out unevenly across the country.  A wide variety of factors have contributed to this, which can lead to major differences from one local authority to another. In Milton Keynes, for example, spending on early intervention services has fallen 47% over the last decade, while next door in Bedford spending has fallen by just 2%. But there are also notable trends that indicate that children in areas of greatest disadvantage and deprivation have experienced greater cuts to these early intervention services than those children in areas of lower disadvantage.

Areas with the highest levels of child poverty have experienced the most significant cuts to early intervention services

In the parts of the country where child poverty is most widespread, cuts to the per-child spend on early intervention services have been double the size of cuts in areas with the lowest levels of child poverty.

Spending on early intervention services in the areas of England with the highest levels of child poverty fell by £766 million between 2010 and 2019, a real terms reduction of 53%. This halving of spend resulted in an average per-child reduction of £141 in the areas where child poverty is highest. In areas of England with the lowest levels of child poverty, spending on early intervention services reduced by £182 million or 38% over that period, an average per-child reduction of £61.

 

The largest cuts to early intervention services have been made in the most deprived areas of the country 

On average, early intervention spending has declined the most in the areas of the country which experience the highest levels of deprivation. Average early intervention spending in the most deprived local authorities decreased from £291 per young person in 2010-11 to £118 per young person in 2019-20 – a 59% reduction. Manchester, for example, has some of the highest levels of deprivation anywhere in England. Spending on early intervention services in Manchester fell by 75% over the decade. In Liverpool, which is also among England’s most deprived areas, spending fell 65%.

While the least deprived local authorities tend to spend less on preventative measures per young person, they have been able to protect that spending to a greater extent, with an average reduction of 38% from £142 per young person in 2010-11 to £88 per young person in 2019-20. For example, in York which has much lower of deprivation, overall spend on early intervention children’s services fell by just 3% over the decade, while in Surrey it fell by 10%. Buckinghamshire and Rutland local authorities increased their spending on early intervention services between 2010 and 2019.

 

There have been concerns raised about the scale of cuts in themselves, but most concerning is the risk of a vicious circle affecting both children’s outcomes and the public purse. Without preventative measures achieved through early intervention services, the number of young people and families that go on to develop more severe difficulties is likely to increase. This will drive up the demand for late intervention services, such as care placements.

The supply constraints that already exist in the market providing late intervention services are likely to be further exacerbated, leading to further cost increases for local authorities. These supply constraints are likely to have contributed to the increase in the costs of these scarce placements over the period, with the average cost per Looked After Child increasing by £11,000 per year, from £53,000 in 2010-11 to £64,000 in 2019-20. If this continues unabated, it will add further pressure to local authority budgets, leading to further reductions in budgets for preventative measures and subsequently a further worsening of outcomes. The impacts of this may not just be limited to local authority budgets but potentially have further implications for demands in health services, benefits and the wider criminal justice system too.

That this vicious circle is playing out particularly acutely within the areas of the country with the highest levels of child poverty and deprivation should concern both those that are invested in children’s outcomes and in the efficiency of public expenditure.

 

1 September 2021

             

Pro Bono Economics: Early Intervention Spending in real terms

             

 

 

Change

2010/11-

2019/20 (£)

 

Change

2010/1 1-

2019/2

0 (%)

Local authority

Region 

 

 

Barking and Dagenham

London

-£8,915,409.92

-45%

Barnet

London

-£8,530,009.03

-35%

Barnsley

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£24,494,114.11

-73%

Bath and North East

Somerset

South West

-£3,170,456.30

-38%

Bedford Borough

East of

England

-£148,605.60

-2%

Bexley

London

-£9,175,854.83

-57%

Birmingham

West Midlands

-£51,958,363.80

-65%

Blackburn with Darwen

North West

-£9,079,784.38

-55%

Blackpool

North West

-£3,885,365.42

-39%

Bolton

North West

-£15,073,268.83

-57%

Bournemouth

South West

 

 

Bracknell Forest

South East

-£2,367,542.36

-35%

Bradford

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£33,358,577.92

-64%

Brent

London

-£19,129,618.95

-66%

Brighton and Hove

South East

-£5,623,494.08

-36%

Bristol City of

South West

-£3,021,499.27

-13%

Bromley

London

-£6,324,256.74

-53%

Buckinghamshire

South East

£623,053.32

4%

Bury

North West

-£11,059,721.34

-75%

Calderdale

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£3,019,163.17

-20%

Cambridgeshire

East of

England

£14,176,525.05

162%

Camden

London

£3,036,836.31

16%

Central Bedfordshire

East of

England

-£3,872,272.52

-31%

Cheshire East

North West

-£5,970,333.65

-36%

Cheshire West and

Chester

North West

-£2,376,303.15

-19%

 

City of London

London

-£156,216.77

-8%

Cornwall

South West

-£8,177,556.39

-23%

Coventry

West Midlands

-£11,015,618.39

-58%

Croydon

London

-£1,459,973.58

-5%

Cumbria

North West

-£4,365,756.00

-17%

Darlington

North East

-£3,480,367.78

-51%

Derby

East Midlands

-£13,699,743.60

-55%

Derbyshire

East Midlands

-£41,205,434.88

-72%

Devon

South West

-£11,681,380.08

-32%

Doncaster

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£12,786,203.36

-55%

Dorset

South West

-£11,477,677.04

-47%

Dudley

West Midlands

-£13,474,768.79

-60%

Durham

North East

-£27,152,485.92

-66%

Ealing

London

-£22,583,666.66

-71%

East Riding of Yorkshire

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£4,865,946.42

-26%

East Sussex

South East

-£304,096.79

-2%

Enfield

London

-£13,083,819.57

-54%

Essex

East of

England

-£53,513,544.11

-59%

Gateshead

North East

-£8,279,373.47

-58%

Gloucestershire

South West

-£13,700,744.45

-41%

Greenwich

London

-£21,997,953.11

-66%

Hackney

London

-£13,342,470.10

-33%

Halton

North West

-£9,482,488.07

-58%

Hammersmith and

Fulham

London

-£2,465,998.61

-17%

Hampshire

South East

-£38,336,244.69

-69%

Haringey

London

-£14,001,419.26

-57%

Harrow

London

-£1,863,655.77

-17%

Hartlepool

North East

-£7,086,414.28

-61%

Havering

London

-£6,498,846.14

-53%

Herefordshire

West Midlands

-£10,357,282.94

-77%

Hertfordshire

East of

England

-£50,160,664.41

-55%

Hillingdon

London

-£4,782,466.29

-33%

Hounslow

London

-£7,655,084.12

-48%

Isle of Wight

South East

-£6,539,437.94

-74%

Isles Of Scilly

South West

-£252,011.38

-77%

 

Islington

London

-£13,861,662.86

-41%

Kensington and Chelsea

London

-£5,224,135.06

-41%

Kent

South East

-£37,784,026.71

-52%

Kingston upon Hull City of

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£13,568,354.39

-49%

Kingston upon Thames

London

-£769,932.17

-9%

Kirklees

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£20,320,003.51

-53%

Knowsley

North West

-£4,846,946.83

-37%

Lambeth

London

-£12,370,408.60

-45%

Lancashire

North West

-£60,740,261.26

-57%

Leeds

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£40,261,312.02

-59%

Leicester

East Midlands

-£24,041,844.19

-66%

Leicestershire

East Midlands

-£10,567,191.32

-39%

Lewisham

London

£3,073,168.94

28%

Lincolnshire

East Midlands

-£19,297,319.24

-46%

Liverpool

North West

-£26,873,345.87

-65%

Luton

East of

England

-£6,998,725.03

-46%

Manchester

North West

-£50,709,941.47

-75%

Medway

South East

-£11,734,508.85

-60%

Merton

London

-£2,482,396.42

-25%

Middlesbrough

North East

-£11,246,309.99

-64%

Milton Keynes

South East

-£9,011,009.43

-47%

Newcastle upon Tyne

North East

-£14,740,472.46

-53%

Newham

London

-£16,027,838.39

-47%

Norfolk

East of

England

-£9,343,448.29

-23%

North East Lincolnshire

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£5,775,545.82

-31%

North Lincolnshire

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£5,099,989.82

-37%

North Somerset

South West

-£2,175,142.04

-25%

North Tyneside

North East

-£6,192,661.71

-50%

North Yorkshire

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£11,421,489.78

-37%

Northamptonshire

East Midlands

-£13,686,973.82

-75%

Northumberland

North East

-£13,355,726.53

-56%

Nottingham

East Midlands

-£16,980,406.57

-59%

 

Nottinghamshire

East Midlands

-£12,660,675.90

-27%

Oldham

North West

£2,830,455.41

23%

Oxfordshire

South East

-£17,926,844.45

-49%

Peterborough

East of

England

£6,901,562.92

121%

Plymouth

South West

-£7,486,491.76

-39%

Poole

South West

 

 

Portsmouth

South East

-£9,453,987.94

-58%

Reading

South East

-£6,778,999.49

-57%

Redbridge

London

-£8,122,675.44

-57%

Redcar and Cleveland

North East

-£9,261,194.97

-56%

Richmond upon Thames

London

-£3,164,812.00

-29%

Rochdale

North West

-£9,729,027.33

-49%

Rotherham

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£753,295.46

-6%

Rutland

East Midlands

£242,192.57

13%

Salford

North West

£4,888,961.77

145%

Sandwell

West Midlands

-£15,847,587.05

-69%

Sefton

North West

-£8,522,410.36

-41%

Sheffield

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£18,722,664.02

-41%

Shropshire

West Midlands

-£10,196,843.95

-70%

Slough

South East

-£5,661,750.91

-58%

Solihull

West Midlands

-£6,287,781.21

-48%

Somerset

South West

-£13,891,985.57

-60%

South Gloucestershire

South West

-£5,791,033.44

-45%

South Tyneside

North East

-£6,969,442.54

-58%

Southampton

South East

-£5,591,833.72

-36%

Southend-on-Sea

East of

England

-£2,870,506.23

-31%

Southwark

London

-£19,920,313.07

-64%

St Helens

North West

-£9,089,358.02

-59%

Staffordshire

West Midlands

-£25,380,449.97

-70%

Stockport

North West

-£11,737,136.13

-56%

Stockton-on-Tees

North East

-£6,705,601.52

-54%

Stoke-on-Trent

West Midlands

-£20,290,613.00

-77%

Suffolk

East of

England

-£10,215,195.46

-36%

Sunderland

North East

-£16,696,025.00

-83%

Surrey

South East

-£4,086,754.51

-10%

Sutton

London

-£11,312,995.06

-72%

Swindon

South West

-£9,175,760.97

-76%

Tameside

North West

-£16,570,956.51

-56%

Telford and Wrekin

West Midlands

-£3,237,493.93

-32%

Thurrock

East of

England

-£11,184,041.09

-54%

Torbay

South West

-£4,121,623.06

-45%

Tower Hamlets

London

-£33,640,685.20

-63%

Trafford

North West

-£9,172,835.23

-65%

Wakefield

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£18,133,117.15

-59%

Walsall

West Midlands

-£22,645,395.66

-81%

Waltham Forest

London

-£4,311,880.51

-25%

Wandsworth

London

-£8,235,288.89

-35%

Warrington

North West

-£7,161,863.04

-55%

Warwickshire

West Midlands

-£8,173,851.62

-34%

West Berkshire

South East

-£6,313,865.11

-63%

West Sussex

South East

-£12,718,992.16

-33%

Westminster

London

-£11,341,960.71

-68%

Wigan

North West

-£13,981,863.67

-54%

Wiltshire

South West

£5,301,218.24

62%

Windsor and

Maidenhead

South East

-£2,428,848.41

-32%

Wirral

North West

-£11,431,030.56

-43%

Wokingham

South East

-£920,118.88

-24%

Wolverhampton

West Midlands

-£10,914,141.68

-54%

Worcestershire

West Midlands

-£18,452,412.22

-61%

York

Yorkshire and the Humber

-£185,043.24

-3%

Total

 

-

£1,731,447,502

.47

-48%