Agenda item

2020/21 Revenue Budget Report for Children’s Services

To consider the report of the Director of Children’s Services and Director of Corporate Resources prior to the decision of the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services and Young People.


The Committee received, for pre-scrutiny, a report and presentation on the Children’s Services Revenue Budget for 2020/21 (Item 6 in the Minute Book).  Members were taken through the presentation slides and key issue were outlined.


Officers highlighted the percentage change in Government Departmental revenue budget from 2009/10 to 2019/20 and these changes were explained to Members as shown on page 5 of the presentation slide pack.  The Committee was also provided with the context in relation to the County Council’s savings over the last 10 years from its Efficiency and Transformation programmes, as well as cash limit comparisons per Council department.  Members were reminded that a savings target of £80m was agreed as part of the Medium-Term Financial Strategy in 2018, and the proposals to meet this target were agreed in November 2019.  It was noted that the focus was now on implementation and delivery, including service specific public consultations, to engage with service users and key stakeholders.


The Committee were also provided with an overview of the key departmental challenges and the principles of the department were detailed on page 19 of the presentation pack.  The key departmental challenges included: demand and cost for services, financial pressure in schools and significant pressure on high needs block.  Officers also highlighted the significant increase in the last ten years of child protection investigations, child protection conferences and child protection plans.  Members attention was drawn to page 26 of the presentation pack which highlighted an increase of 30% in the number of looked after children between March 2009 and March 2019.


A brief YouTube video was shown to Members, which illustrated the recent achievements of Children’s Services.

It was heard that staff had easier to manage workloads, the use of technology had enabled 30% of staff to spend less time travelling and tools had been introduced to save staff time with administrative tasks.  It was also heard that the use of devices had allowed social workers to also spend more time with families.  The view to the future was to continue to engage, and continue to support staff in adopting the Hampshire approach. 


In looking to the future, officers highlighted the key principles and also operating within the budget and keeping children safe.  Officers also drew Members attention to the ‘Hampshire Approach’ which was a shared mind-set and culture, and also managed risk safely.  Page 34 of the presentation slides highlighted that since November 2018, there had been a reduction in child protection plans, looked after children and social work caseloads.  Members also noted that 92% of files audited showed improved outcomes for children.  In concluding, Members heard that the department was ahead in delivering on savings and the main change for the Children’s Services Revenue Budget for 2020/21 was money allocated to schools.


In response to questions, Members heard:

·         That HCC leads sector led improvement across the region with best practice being shared across the region, which has been recognised by Ofsted.

·         That within the County, new ways of working could be trialled in one specific area before being rolled out to other areas in the County if appropriate.

·         That in relation to Swanwick Lodge, there was more expenditure then income at the current time, but once building work had concluded, then this would generate income.  Work was also continuing with staff recruitment and training.  Swanwick Lodge was nationally seen as a valued resource.

·         That it was important for staff to feel listened to.  There has been a cultural change and as part of the Transformation Programme, there has been a constant change process with staff welcoming the new approach.



Following questions, the recommendation was proposed and a vote was held with the following outcome;


For:                 15

Against:          0

Abstained:     0




That the Children and Young People Select Committee considered the proposals and supported the recommendations being proposed to the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services and Young People.

Supporting documents: