Children England evidence used to show children, families and councils need investment – now!

Children England[i] welcomes the powerful report on children’s services from the Select Committee for Housing, Communities and Local Government[ii], and completely endorses the view expressed by the Chair, that “We have reached a crisis point and action is needed now.”

In particular we wholeheartedly support the Committee’s call for a minimum of £3.1 billion additional core funding from central government for councils to reinvest in children’s services over the next 5 years, and their recommendation that it should be un-ringfenced and fairly distributed around the country using a children’s services funding formula – something that Children England and a host of supporting organisations and experts have been calling for since 2017.[iii]

While building on and learning from a wide range of reports and inquiries into children’s services funding, today’s Select Committee Report draws them all together and underlines several important and decisive conclusions that Children England also endorses:

  • Innovation has an important role to play in improving practice but is no replacement for getting the basics right, and well-funded, everywhere
  • One-off, selective pots of money are no replacement for, or contribution to, the sustainable funding of all existing and new statutory commitments to all children and families
  • Geographical variations in practice and spending are worth understanding better, but standardising won’t in itself be the solution to improving outcomes for all children and families
  • There are fundamental problems with the marketplace approach to procuring placements and care providers that demands a wholesale review, not piecemeal reform

Our Chief Executive, Kathy Evans, said:

"Even with great complexity and diversity in local children’s services, the breadth of different evidence and perspectives that the Inquiry gathered, and the fact that the Committee itself is a cross-party body, one very clear and urgent message emerges. There is simply no getting away from the fact that austerity policies are leaving thousands of children and families and many essential local services at absolute breaking point.

"We were pleased to share our 'Care Bank'[iv] reform ideas for transforming the highly dysfunctional marketplace of care providers and welcome the Committee’s recommendation that the DfE should review the practicability of the Care Bank alongside other options. We’ll be ready and enthusiastic in collaborating with DfE when it acts on that recommendation.

"Exactly 30 years ago the visionary Children Act 1989 was passed by the Conservative government with cross-party collaboration and support. The Children Act promised all children, everywhere, that they and their family would be supported to live, love and grow together by a whole range of community services and supportive practices, backed up, in extremis, by a child protection powers to act as a safety net in the rare circumstances when a child needed to go into care. Today the government’s decade of relentless cuts have torn new holes in the safety net and left too many families to fend for themselves without sufficient income, food, homes or practical supportive help until their descent into family crisis triggers care proceedings. This risks turning the Children Act 1989 into a 'blue light' emergency intervention by the state, and that is the diametric opposite of its intended role as supporting all families to thrive and avert crises wherever possible.  We agree with the Committee’s conclusion that "We cannot allow children’s services to become a ‘blue light’ service."

The Committee places great emphasis on the expected Spending Review as the key to delivering the substantial investments and reforms urgently needed for children’s services, and we are certainly keen to contribute the ideas that we submitted to the HCLG Select Committee to the Spending Review too. We are deeply concerned at recent intimations from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Spending Review could be yet further delayed by the extension of Brexit deliberations. This report should underline that there is no time to waste if the very real damage being done to the lives of children, families and communities is not to be made even worse by yet more indecision. Children, families and councils need, and deserve, substantial public reinvestment – now.”




Contact details for enquiries:


Children England office: 020 7833 3319

Kathy Evans mobile: 07940 114926



[i] Children England is a charity created, governed and inspired by other charities. Our mission is to change the world for England’s children by harnessing the energy, ingenuity and expertise of the voluntary organisations that work on their behalf.

[ii] House of Commons, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Fourteenth Report of Session 2017-2019 “Funding of local authorities’ children’s services” published 1st May 2019

[iii] Children England and signatories: The Case for a Children Act Funding Formula: Nov 2017

[iv] Children England: Children in Charge: imagining systemic reform and redesign in commissioning care for children Nov 2016