Today in Parliament, the Education Select Committee held an accountability hearing to question Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education.
During the hearing, Telford MP and Education Committee member, Lucy Allan questioned the Education Secretary about the way funding is spent on children in England, and in particular children in care.
The MP raised her concerns that the continued increase in children being taken into care or subject to child protection plans means less funding is spent on targeted preventative measures.
Lucy drew the Secretary of State’s attention to a report published by the Children’s Commissioner, which showed that spending on preventative support, such as Sure Start and young people’s services, has been cut by around 60% in real-terms between 09/10 and 16/17. Today, 90% of children’s services budgets go towards the crisis end of need, rather than to preventative measures.
Responding the Education Secretary said:
“It is better to stop the problem happening in the first place. There is a lot more we can do in thinking and working differently to innovate…I do give you commitment to physically look at the problem… and the way the system works.”
Commenting after, Lucy Allan said:
“I am glad to see the new Secretary of State focusing on looked after children and recognised that we have to do better.
“I am also pleased that the Education Secretary has made a commitment to look at the way we are spending public money on children and children in care.
“It is so important to focus attention and spending on preventative measures to keep families together. More often we see social workers start at the crisis end, rather than at the supportive end which is not helpful to families who are struggling.
“I will continue to press the Minister on this issue to ensure that families in need get help at the earliest opportunity.”