Osborne cuts DfE’s children’s services budget by 12%

Funding for vulnerable children and families will be streamlined in a new early intervention grant, but the Department for Education's non-schools budget will be cut by 12% by 2014-15, chancellor George Osborne (pictured) said in today's comprehensive spending review. Picture: Steve Back/Rex

Funding for vulnerable children and families will be streamlined in a new early intervention grant of £2bn by 2014-15, but the Department for Education’s non-schools budget will be cut by 12% over the same period, chancellor George Osborne said in today’s comprehensive spending review.

He also announced a new national campaign to “support and help turn around the lives of families with multiple problems, improving outcomes and reducing costs to welfare and public services” through community budgets which will pool funding from across departments to tackle issues. The budgets will be piloted in 16 areas from April next year.

However, a DfE spokesman confirmed that the funding for community budgets for children’s services would come from the early intervention grant.

The DfE said the hit to the children’s services budget would be achieved by cutting administration and back-office costs, education maintenance allowances forthe most disadvantaged children, efficiencies in Sure Start and “rationalising and ending centrally directed programmes for children, young people and families”.

So far there has been no detail on which centrally directed programmes would be affected. The Treasury said it would be looking at setting targets on services that could be delivered by independent providers, including the private and voluntary sector, to provide court and tribunal services and early intervention for the neediest families.

The chancellor also announced that more money is to go to personalised budgets for disabled children and those with special education needs.

“The government will look to significantly extend the use of personal budgets across a range of service areas, including special education needs, support for children with disabilities, long-term health conditions and adult social care,” Osborne said.

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