Welfare

23.02.17

Services failing children with complex needs as national data ‘not fit for purpose’

Concern has been voiced by the National Children’s Bureau that government and local authority services for children with complex needs are insufficient to cater for a growing number of children and families requiring specialist care.

This worry was detailed in a report released yesterday that said the number of children with complex needs and life limiting conditions had risen by over 50% since 2004, rising from 49,300 to 73,000 children and young people.

The paper, written by Anne Pinney, also warned that the number of children with complex forms of autism had doubled since 2004 – and the real figure could be higher than this as children with the most complex needs are educated in the Independent Special School Sector, which the DfE does not hold detailed data for.

But despite this growing number of children requiring care, services have not been keeping up with need, as Pinney found that the proportion of children with a disability supported by children’s services is steadily falling, and that 41,500 children and young people with a learning disability or autism are currently on waiting lists to see a mental health specialist.

Commenting on the report, Dame Christine Lenehan, director of the council for disabled people, said: “You’d think that because these disabled children are known to health services, social services and education teams, we’d have a good idea of the numbers involved. That simply isn’t the case.

“The national data on disabled children is not fit for purpose: it has gaps, anomalies and inconsistencies, and raises the question how can we plan to meet the needs of these children and their families, when we don’t know what those needs are?”

The LGA also responded to the report’s findings, highlighting how the report should come as more evidence that local authorities need new funding for children’s services to properly provide care for struggling children and families.

Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People’s Board, said: “Councils were clear with the DfE at the time that implementing the SEND reforms in the Children and Families Bill was significantly underfunded by the government and this has been borne out in reality.”

He added that the transition process from SEND statements to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) is complex, but councils are doing everything they can within the resources available to make sure children are being supported and getting the help that they need.

“In addition, we believe the DfE's proposed changes to high needs funding will reduce council and school flexibility to make additional funding available where there are rising demands for SEND support, making existing problems even worse,” said Cllr Watts.

This news comes at the same time NICE announced new guidelines to help people who work with children spot and stop abuse or neglect, calling on care staff to make sure children know they have been listened to and encouraging them to use their judgement and following up where required to stamp out abuse.

NICE’s guidelines also urge staff to communicate with their colleagues and other organisations if they have concerns to avoid children and their parents having to repeat difficult conversations.

Speaking about the guidelines, Professor Corinne May-Chahal, a leading researcher in child protection at Lancaster University and chair of the guideline committee, said: “Our awareness of the different forms of child abuse and neglect is developing all the time but it is difficult for professionals to keep track of the best ways to assess abuse and intervene effectively.

“This guideline is important as it will help professionals spot the warning signs and focus on what early help and interventions can be provided.”

 Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

District and borough authorities begin challenge against Nottinghamshire super-council

20/07/2018District and borough authorities begin challenge against Nottinghamshire super-council

Gedling council members have emphatically outlined their stance against a potential mega-merger in Nottinghamshire that could see borough and dis... more >
Northamptonshire new CEO approved by Full Council to lead area through ‘unprecedented time of change’

20/07/2018Northamptonshire new CEO approved by Full Council to lead area through ‘unprecedented time of change’

Northamptonshire County Council’s new chief executive has been endorsed at the authority’s Full Council meeting yesterday, with the a... more >
‘Naming and shaming index’ for bankrupt councils fails to offer genuine solution

20/07/2018‘Naming and shaming index’ for bankrupt councils fails to offer genuine solution

An index designed to measure councils’ financial resilience in order to avoid another Northamptonshire-style fiasco would actually risk ove... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open — and this needs to happen as soon as po... more > more last word articles >
District and borough authorities begin challenge against Nottinghamshire super-council

20/07/2018District and borough authorities begin challenge against Nottinghamshire super-council

Gedling council members have emphatically outlined their stance against a potential mega-merger in Nottinghamshire that could see borough and district authorities being scrapped. Nottinghams... more >
Northamptonshire new CEO approved by Full Council to lead area through ‘unprecedented time of change’

20/07/2018Northamptonshire new CEO approved by Full Council to lead area through ‘unprecedented time of change’

Northamptonshire County Council’s new chief executive has been endorsed at the authority’s Full Council meeting yesterday, with the authority’s leader saying the new CEO “... more >

the raven's daily blog

One step closer to voter IDs at elections

19/07/2018One step closer to voter IDs at elections

Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution, evaluates the outcomes of the voter ID pilots conducted at the last local elections. We are one step closer to strengthening the integrity of our electoral system through requiring electors to confirm their identity before they vote, building on the government’s commitment to safeguard ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

One step closer to voter IDs at elections

19/07/2018One step closer to voter IDs at elections

Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution, evaluates the outcomes of the voter ID pilots conducted at the last local elections. We are o... more >
Accountability in government: what next?

02/07/2018Accountability in government: what next?

Benoit Guerin, senior researcher at the Institute for Government (IfG), explains why accountability in government needs improving and sets out wh... more >
Potholes: The scourge of the roads

02/07/2018Potholes: The scourge of the roads

Potholes are a scourge on our roads and can have much farther-reaching consequences than one might think. Re-routing just a small amount of exist... more >
Can data save the future of children?

02/07/2018Can data save the future of children?

Ingrid Koehler, service innovation lead at the LGiU, takes a look at the untapped potential for a digital, data-led transformation of children&rs... more >

interviews

Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >
GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

03/04/2018GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

SPONSORED INTERVIEW PSE’s Josh Mines chats to Martin de Martini, CIO of Y Soft, about what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)... more >
Keeping London safe

05/03/2018Keeping London safe

Theo Blackwell, London’s first-ever chief digital officer (CDO), speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the role he plays in ensuring the... more >
BIM: Digitising the public sector

19/02/2018BIM: Digitising the public sector

PSE’s Josh Mines talks to Stephen Crompton, CTO at GroupBC, and Stuart Bell, the company’s sales and marketing director, about how Bu... more >

public sector focus

View all News