Wide variety in cost of children’s services remains a mystery

A major research study has found no explanation for most of the cost variation of children’s social services around the country.

The Department for Education and Skills funded study found that factors such as the balance of care services in an area or the geographical location of an authority explained only one-third of variation in costs, which was often wide.

The study, which will be formally launched next week, questioned how authorities were choosing to spend their money and whether some were making better choices than others.

It also described the quality of information in case files as “poor” with too many lacking basic information on care history or school attendance.

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