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Tackling problems including domestic abuse and truancy late cost council more than £230m

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 07:36 08 March 2018

Norfolk County Council has said that late intervention cost the council £231m in 2016/17. Picture: Archant library

Norfolk County Council has said that late intervention cost the council £231m in 2016/17. Picture: Archant library

Tackling problems including domestic abuse and absence from schools late has cost Norfolk County Council more than £230m, a report says.

Penny Carpenter, chair of Norfolk County Council's children's services committee. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Penny Carpenter, chair of Norfolk County Council's children's services committee. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

In papers published ahead of the council’s children’s services committee meeting, the council revealed the cost of late intervention was £231m in 2016/17.

The papers, part of a report looking at the future of children’s services from 2018 to 2021, shows that £88m was spent on late intervention in domestic abuse, £74m for looked-after children and £20m for children persistently absent from school.

In the report, the council said: “If we are serious about reducing the risk of social exclusion and increasing social mobility for children and families, using our resources differently and investing in effective early intervention should be targeted in particular on those areas where spending on late intervention is high.”

The document says the council must “intervene without fear or favour” where educational provision outcomes are poor.

The council has listed its key actions for 2018/19 in the report, which include reducing the number of children in care, redesigning children’s centres, developing a young people’s mental health strategy and working towards an overall good Ofsted for the department.

Penny Carpenter, chairman of the committee, said: “We want children to live in resourceful and resilient families and receive the help that they need at the right time in the right place.

“We know that providing support early gives children the best possible chances in life and also reduces long-term costs across public services.

“I am passionate about getting the right help to families to keep them together and earlier support is the right thing to do for children and their families – that is why we have invested £12m to support this work.”

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) defines late intervention was “acute, statutory and essential benefits and services that are required when children and young people experience significant difficulties in life, many of which might have been prevented”.

They say, nationally, £17bn is spent on late intervention each year, with the EIF aiming to increase the use of early intervention to reduce demand.

The report includes facts and figures on young people in the county.

• There are 169,296 people aged under 18 living in Norfolk - 19pc of the total population.

• Eighteen per cent of the county’s children aged under 16 are living in low-income families.

• In primary schools, roughly 10pc of children have English as an additional language, compared to 7pc in secondaries.

• The rate of teenage conceptions in Norfolk - 21.3 per 1,000 girls - is higher than the eastern region’s 18.8 and England’s 20.8.

• Roughly 13,300 children aged under 18 live in areas of Norfolk included in the most deprived 10pc in the country.

• The county’s level of childhood obesity is below the national average, and has been so since 2012/2013. Currently, one in three year six pupils are classed as overweight or obese.

• 2,103 children have been identified as being children in need.

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