Children, Education & Communities Policy

and  Scrutiny Committee

13 April 2022


Report of the Interim Director of Children’s Services


2021/22 Finance Third Quarter Monitoring Report – Children, Education & Communities



1     This report analyses the latest performance for 2021/22 and forecasts the financial outturn position by reference to the services plans and budgets falling under this committee’s responsibilities.




2     A summary of the service plan variations is shown at table 1 below.


Table 1: Children, Education & Communities Financial Projections Summary 2021/22 – Quarter 3


Quarter 2




2021/22 Latest

Approved Budget


Projected Outturn Variation












Children’s Specialist Services








Education & Skills








School Funding & Assets








Director of People & Central Budgets








Communities & Equalities















+ indicates increased expenditure or reduced income / - indicates reduced expenditure or increased income


3     A net overspend of £7.2m is forecast which is an increase of £0.3m from the Q2 projection, and primarily due to pressures within children’s social care.


Children’s Specialist Services


4     Before detailing the variances to be reported it is important to highlight some of the key reasons for the current budgetary position for Children’s Social Care in York.


5     The number of Children & Young People in Care (CYPIC) in York has increased significantly in the past two and a half years.  The CYPIC population had been stable for a number of years, in the range 190-210 at any one time. In 2019 the new Directorate Management Team identified unsafe drift and delay for some children in the system.  This was subsequently identified by Ofsted and corrective action has led to significant recalibration in the system.  Numbers of care orders and children on pre proceedings continues to be stable and those in need of child protection have now returned at or below our statistical neighbour average.  This means the flow of children coming into the care has significantly reduced.  However, the complexity of needs of these children remains high and capacity in the system to meet need at this level nationally is a significant challenge which is subject to an independent national care review.


6     At the time of this monitor the number of children and young people in care is 274.  Our Permanence Policy and Permanence Trackers are making a difference. Children are presented at Children’s Resource Panel, and tracked until they step down or move through to permanence. Our pre –birth protocol is effective this is evidenced by the number of unborn babies that we track in both Early Permanence and Letter Before Proceedings (LBP). Within the next three years some 25% of these will leave local authority care. The remodelling of the Corporate Parenting Board is an area of focus and a new constitution has been agreed in 2022. This new model has been developed with children and young people and will be supported following the recent recruitment of Corporate parenting Advisors to the DCS. Currently in their infancy the new Corporate Parenting Board arrangements will strengthen the corporate sense of responsibility for children in care and care leavers.


7     The placements budgets are predicted to overspend by a total of £3,639k.  This includes variances of £1,227k on Fostering (including IFAs), £292k on adoption/SGO/CAO allowances and £2,435k on Out of City Placements together with a saving of £315k on the Hexagon Care contract, which ended in December 2021.  As requested at the previous meeting, Annex 1 provides some more detail on the numbers and average costs of external placements.


8     The fostering projection is based on all local foster carer positions being filled, so where a child reaches 18 or a foster placement ends, then it is assumed that this is filled. Allowance does need to be made to ensure appropriate ‘Staying put’ arrangements are in place to support young people to stay with foster carers beyond 18 years old.  In 2020/21 the percentage of care leavers (19 to 21 years old) living with former foster carers was 16% in York compared to 8% nationally, 11% regionally and 7.9% among statistical neighbours. The IFA and Out of City Placement projections are based on all existing placements at the monitor date and take account of all placements expected to end during 2021/22, with no provision included for any new placements.  The Out of City placements overspend being reported here is a significant increase (£1.5m) on previous years due to the recalibration of the proportion of these costs between the General Fund and the DSG.


9     Staffing budgets within the Permanency Teams are also predicted to overspend by £363k, again due mainly to vacancies being filled by temporary staff. The Workforce Development Board (WFDB) is now in place on a fortnightly basis. These provides a clear grip of staffing matters and oversight of any staffing requests (staff leaving, requests to fill, changes to hours, agency usage etc.). We want to develop retain and inspire our practitioners and managers through providing consistency of relationship with children and families and the wider system as a whole, inclusive of strong partnership working. A refreshed social care recruitment campaign was launched in December and a rolling advert is in place. Unfilled social worker posts (either vacant, covering sickness, covering maternity) are filled with agency staff so that we keep the conditions in which good practice flourishes as we know manageable caseloads retain staff and deliver timely decision making for children.


10   Safeguarding Interventions are predicted to overspend by approximately £796k, mainly due to the complexities of Court and Child Protection work. Legal fees are predicted to overspend by approximately £430k.


11   Staffing budgets with Children’s Social Work Services are also predicted to overspend by approximately £298k.  This is mainly due to temporary staffing across the service, which the directorate has worked hard to eliminate with permanent appointments.


12   Significant staffing overspends totalling £632k are predicted in the MASH and Assessment teams. This is in part due to vacancies being covered by temporary and agency staffing. The new structure introduced in 2022 for the MASH and assessments consolidates within budget a number of cost pressures in this area.


13   Within Disabled Children’s Services overspends on Short Breaks of £140k, Direct Payments of £353k and staffing of £162k are predicted.


14   Additional Troubled Families income of £50k over budget has been assumed based on progress to date on reward grant claimed.


15   A number of other more minor variations make up the remaining projected net overspend.





Education and Skills


16   Education Psychology is predicted to overspend by £74k, mainly due to an unbudgeted post costing £43k and unachieved vacancy factor of £29k.


17   The Home to School Transport budget was already in a historic overspend position of approximately £200k.  The savings targets for the SEND element of home to school transport have not been achieved because of a growth in the number of pupils/students requiring transport and the specialist requirements of that transport.  The main increase in numbers have been at post 16/19 where, because of the city now being able to provide more specialist education provision for this group of students more locally, subsequently we have had to provide more transport to the likes of York College, Askham Bryan College, Choose 2 and Blueberry Academy.  The changes in legislation to allow EHCPs to ages 19-25, resulting in significantly more students accessing this option, has significantly increased our transport spend accordingly. Reducing the costs of SEND home to school transport is a work stream in the Safety Valve Plan agreed with the Department for Education. Work has taken place to tighten the eligibility criteria in the Home to School Transport policy and the criteria are being rigorously applied. This includes ensuring that parental requests for out of city placements do not automatically result in transport being provided if an appropriate local placement has been identified.


18   The overall overspend on Home to School transport is predicted to be £283k.  The main pressures are on SEN taxi transport budgets (both for children with SEND and also for children in care), but an additional pressure has been created due to the need for three additional buses as a result of increased numbers of children eligible for transport to Huntington and Fulford schools, offset by an increased allocation of Extended Rights for Free Travel grant for 2021/22.


19   Underspends are projected in both the Governance Service (£33k) due to increasing external income for services, and in Early Years (£30k) due to savings on non-staffing budgets and the effect of an increase in the 5% Early Years DSG contribution.


School Funding and Assets (including DSG)


20   The DSG position at 1st April 2021 is a deficit of £9.940m.  At Q3 we are projecting a likely in-year deficit for 2021/22 in the region of £3.5m, an improvement of approximately £1.5m on the final 2020/21 position.  However this position will increase the overall deficit to approximately £13.5m at the end of 2021/22.  As at Q3, detailed work is ongoing in conjunction with colleagues at the Department for Education under their ‘Safety Valve’ programme to put in place a recovery plan to bring the position back to an in year balance within the next four years.


Communities & Equalities


21   These services are expected to outturn within budget.  There are a number of minor variations being managed and work has continued to try and identify additional savings to help the overall position.


Council Plan


22   This report is directly linked to the key priority A Better Start for Children and Young People in the Council Plan.




23   The financial implications are covered within the main body of the report.  There are no other direct implications arising from this report.



24   As this report is for information only there are no specific recommendations.


Reason:  To update the committee on the latest financial position for 2021/22.



Contact Details


Chief Officers Responsible for the report:

Richard Hartle

Head of Finance

Children, Education & Schools


Phone: 01904 554225



Anne Coyle

Interim Director of Children’s Services


Debbie Mitchell

Chief Finance Officer

Report Approved



01 April 2022


Specialist Implications Officer(s)  None


Wards Affected: 




For further information please contact the authors of the report


Background Papers

2021/22 Finance and Performance Monitor 3 Report, Executive 7 February 2022



Annex 1 - Analysis of CYPIC External Placements 2021/22

Annex 1


Analysis of CYPIC External Placements 2021/22


Residential Provision 0 - 15 year olds

Average weekly placement cost


 £              4,575

Number of placements




Total cost for 2021/22



 £      2,252,372

General fund cost



 £      1,689,279

DSG cost




 £         563,093

Residential Provision 16+ year olds

Average weekly placement cost


 £              4,218

Number of placements




Total cost for 2021/22



 £         605,995

General fund cost



 £         454,497

DSG cost




 £         151,499

Additional Health/Disability Needs in Residential Provision

Average weekly placement cost


 £              5,417

Number of placements




Total cost for 2021/22



 £         878,617

General fund cost



 £         658,963

DSG cost




 £         219,654

Preparation for Independence Units

Average weekly placement cost


 £              1,764

Number of placements




Total cost for 2021/22



 £         267,184

General fund cost



 £         200,388

DSG cost




 £            66,796


Total for all placements - Current












Average weekly placement cost


 £              3,994


Number of placements












Total cost for 2021/22



 £      4,004,169


General fund cost



 £      3,003,127



DSG cost




 £      1,001,042


Ended placements within the year












Average weekly placement cost


 £              2,359


Number of placements












Total cost for 2021/22



 £         565,488


General fund cost



 £         424,116



DSG cost




 £         141,372