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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Councillor raises serious concerns about Children’s Services finances

A councillor has raised serious concerns about the financial state of Bradford’s Children’s Services.

At a meeting of Bradford Council’s Executive on Tuesday, members will discuss the latest Council finances.

The report reveals that the predicted overspend in Children’s Service in this financial year has risen from an already eye watering £33m just a few months ago to £43m.

The huge cost is partly due to the reliance on agency social workers – the Council currently uses 174 agency staff.

And a big rise in the number of looked after children in the care of Bradford Council has also hit finances – placements cost the Council an average £270,000 per year.

Councillor Mike Pollard (Cons, Baildon) raised serious concerns about the Children’s Service finances when the first quarter finances were revealed in the Summer.

With the costs further spiralling since then, he said: “The country may be having a few fiscal dramas at present, but whereas Conservatives are the incumbents at national level, the really serious problems with Bradford’s Budget shortfall are, to a very significant degree, down to the Labour incumbents at City Hall, who have been the decision makers at local level since 2014.

“I know that it’s not helpful to start giving traffic directions by saying ‘I wouldn’t have started from here’, but decisions made, under Labour administration locally, to reduce early intervention funding, is partially responsible for the absolute nightmare of the financially unsustainable position in which the Council finds itself in respect of Children’s Social Care, in advance of the transfer of functions to the Bradford Children’s Trust next year.

“I fear we can be assured that the Trust will not be accepting fond hopes about cost mitigations from Bradford Council regarding their initial funding requirement.”

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