Hampshire chief warns against hopes of saving money through early intervention

Focusing on preventive services for children will not save councils money, a children’s services director told delegates.John Coughlan

John Coughlan, of Hampshire Council, said: “Early intervention costs. It’s not a cost-saving initiative.”

He said funding pressures on children’s services were likely to increase rather than decrease. He explained that the split of children’s and adults’ services would remove the “comfort blanket” of taking money from adult services budgets.

Coughlan also claimed more schools were signing up to the Every Child Matters agenda. “I would like to scotch the notion that schools are not onside. They don’t like excluding children, but they are faced with huge competing agendas and are often between rocks and hard places in working with difficult children.”

He said work was needed to make it “attractive to schools” to keep children in mainstream education.

David Behan reiterated the Commission for Social Care Inspection’s position that the proposed single children’s services inspectorate should have responsibility for health and youth justice, which will not be the case under government plans.

Behan, the commission’s chief inspector, said vulnerable children needed access to “high quality health and youth justice services”.

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