Education may take social services cash

Social services budgets could be raided to subsidise increased
education spending as a result of stricter schools funding
guidelines announced by the government, a local government leader
has warned.

Liz Railton, deputy chief executive of learning and social care at
Essex Council, said that, due to the intricacies of the funding
formula, councils had been asked to transfer more money for schools
than they received from the government.

Her warnings followed plans unveiled by education and skills
secretary Charles Clarke last week for new arrangements for
transferring – or passporting – money from central government to
schools. These stemmed from the furore over this year’s funding
which resulted in some schools having to make teachers

“Councils are worried about being in the same situation again,”
said Railton. “[Cutting budgets] has to be a worry for all
services, particularly the larger ones like social services.”

“Soft targets”, such as preventive services – particularly pupil
referral units and special educational needs schools – are likely
to face the greatest threat, Railton warned.

“There is a suggestion from the government that councils shouldn’t
be holding back so much money for SEN and PRU services,” she

Historically, some councils use a small percentage of education
money – which makes up more than 40 per cent of total council
budget – to pay for other services.

From next year, the government will only permit this in “wholly
exceptional circumstances”. Shortfalls will have to be met by
taking money from other areas, raising council tax or cutting

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.