Responding to Ofsted’s annual report, published on 1 December, Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: “This report is extremely concerning and reinforces issues we have previously highlighted, including the significant pressures that children’s services are under.
“The pandemic has led to rising numbers of families facing exceptionally difficult circumstances and councils have worked tirelessly with schools to keep them open and children and their families safe and well, through online and virtual contact and resources, as well as high priority home visits.
“As the impact of the pandemic becomes clear, councils expect to see a significant rise in referrals to children’s social care and demand for wider children’s support services. It is essential that the right services can be there to support them and help them cope, to avoid families reaching crisis point.
“The extra funding for adult and children’s social care announced in the recent Spending Review is positive but will not on its own be enough to tackle the significant challenges facing children’s social care. Councils have been forced to scale back or cut universal and early help services altogether prior to the pandemic due to increasing demand for urgent child protection work alongside long-term funding reductions.
“Significant additional funding for children’s social care will be needed if we are to provide the support children, young people and their families need, when they need it. This includes early help funding to avoid families reaching crisis point, and sufficient funding for those children and families who need more intensive child protection responses. As a starting point, the £1.7 billion removed from the Early Intervention Grant since 2010 should be reinstated.”
The Ofsted Annual Report can be read, here.