In her April 2020 inaugural address, Jenny Coles, the new President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, discusses the possibility of “huge spikes in demand across the children’s social care spectrum” as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
If this forecast turns out to be true it will have a huge impact on a children’s services sector already in financial crisis before the virus struck. By November 2019 local authorities in England reported overspending their children’s services budgets for 2018/19 to the tune of £800m (Local Government Chronicle [LGC], 2019), with even higher spending anticipated for 2019/2020.
With the Treasury having to take unprecedented steps to prevent economic collapse since March 2020 the situation post-Coronavirus will be anything but normal. There may be little or no capacity for additional funding for local authorities and further forms of austerity cannot be ruled out.
Wholesale reappraisal of how all local authority services are funded and provided looks inevitable, with children’s social care and the way in which the services for the sector are commissioned and stewarded an essential ingredient needing redesign.
This discussion paper written by Andrew Rome, Director of Revolution Consulting, supported by IPC’s Director Keith Moultrie, considers how the historic commissioned interfaces with independent providers can be transformed to survive the aftermath of these unprecedented challenges. Supply management childrens services post crisis