Posted: 15 March 2016

Asking the Chancellor for better Budgeting for early help

There is an exceptionally strong case for public services to be based on the principle of intervening early to prevent problems from escalating: The earlier you engage with children, young people and parents to prevent the build up of problems, the cheaper and more effective your intervention is likely to be. 

However, as public spending has been put under pressure, it is becoming harder and harder to ensure that early intervention happens.

Our recent report, Losing in the long run: Trends in early intervention funding, showed how funding for early intervention services has fallen in recent years and is expected to continue to fall to the end of the decade.

One key grant for supporting early help has been what’s known as the early intervention grant. In 2010, the value of this grant was around £3.2 billion in today’s value. But by 2020 early intervention funding is expected to fall to just £900 million – a reduction of 70% over the course of the decade.

A 70% reduction over a decade

Unsurprisingly, as funding has fallen, so has spending on services by local authorities. Between 2010-11 and 2015-16, spending by local authorities on early intervention services for children, young people and families has fallen by 31% in real terms.

Some of the biggest falls in local spending have affected Sure Start children’s centres, which have seen budgets reduced by almost half (48%) in real terms in the last five years. Just under half of local authorities (45%) have made cuts of at least 30% in real terms to services for young people.

Almost six in ten councillors (59%) say there will be further reductions in early intervention services in their local communities in coming years.

Much more needs to be done to ensure that early intervention is protected.

That’s why we are calling on the Government, for this month’s Budget, to commit to annual ‘early intervention’ top ups for local authorities. This amount should be decided according to local need.

By Sam Royston - Policy team
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Early intervention funding faces 70% cut

Posted: 1 March 2016