Agenda item

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2022/23 - 2025/26

To respond to budget consultation for Children and Families Services. (Appendix 2 to follow).


The committee received the report which aimed to capture the committee members’ responses to consultation on the Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2022 to 2026. Comments were put forward on the following proposals:


Investment in Cared for Children and Care Leavers:

·         This investment was welcomed and noted to be a good news story.


Increase capacity to support Statutory SEND service:

·         Councillor Flavell acknowledged the deficit in SEND but welcomed the increase of capacity.


Revenue costs for Crewe Youth Zone:

·         Councillor Flavell highlighted the positive impact for Crewe and that, if successful, this is something which could be rolled out wider in the long term.

·         Councillor Saunders expressed a concern about the perceived inequality of access for young people depending on their geographical location due to a lack of public transport in some areas, particularly Macclesfield.

·         Councillor Saunders expressed a further concern about the youth zone model not always being successful and the committee not having seen the business plan yet.

·         Councillor Saunders raised a concern about taking £400,000 out of Early Help to fund this service and expressed the view that this was counter intuitive as it would have a negative impact on families elsewhere.


Safeguarding Children – legacy staffing pressure:

·         The committee noted this proposal.


Growth in Children & Families Commissioning Contracts

·         The committee noted this proposal.


Increase capacity to support Statutory Education Psychology Service:

·         Councillor Hayes advised he was broadly in support of this in order to meet statutory requirements, although had concerns about what would happen at the end of financial year 2024 to sustain the increase in provision. A request was made for detail on what would happen from 2024 onwards.


A redesign of Early Help Services into a Locality model:

·         Councillor Saunders raised a concern about the reference to change to items 10, 11, 50, 72 in 2021/22 budget (page 141) and requested that it is noted that what is being proposed to be taken out next year is greater than what was originally proposed. It was agreed that a written response would be provided for clarity on this.

·         Councillor Hayes noted from other reports received today that more extreme and complex cases were coming through Early Help services resulting in additional pressure. Councillor Hayes expressed a concern that there could  be a double risk of some children being missed by the system due to not having capacity and thresholds being reduced meaning less impact from Early Help.

·         A question was raised as to whether there is there likely to be a reduction of frontline staff proposed through this saving and what that would look like for communities. The committee were advised that the proposals were not for a reduction in frontline capacity but that a written response would be provided with more detail.

·         A further question was raised regarding the total of earmarked reserves and it was agreed that Jo Wilcox would circulate a full list to the committee.


Restructure Early Help Budget for Crewe Youth Zone:

·         It was requested that comments detailed above regarding concerns about restructuring Early Help to fund the Youth Zone also be noted for this proposal.


School Transport:

·         Councillor Saunders raised a concern that this proposal was unrealistic going forward as, historically, it had not been possible to achieve.

·         The committee put forward the general concern about ongoing savings in school transport after next year.


Establish an Education Psychologist traded service:

·         Councillor Hayes requested that concerns raised under item 10 be noted for this proposal, specifically the concern about establishing traded services while not meeting the statutory timeline and about creating inequality in the system.


Establish a traded service for non-statutory elements of Attendance Service:

·         The committee noted this proposal.


Development and Partnerships Service:

·         The committee noted this proposal.

·         A request was made for a written response to provide detail on the saving of £300,000 in year 2.




That the Children and Families Committee:


1.    Review the MTFS 2022 to 2026 Consultation Document and provide feedback to the Corporate Policy Committee on the proposals relevant to the responsibilities of the Committee as outlined in the Constitution

2.    Note those proposals that are rolling forward from the MTFS 2021-25 relevant to the committee

3.    Note the impact of the local government financial settlement as provided at Appendix 2 on the MTFS Consultation Document.

4.    Comment on any other element of the MTFS Consultation Document related to the responsibilities of the Committee (including WOC Business Plans, and Reserves levels).

5.    Note that the minutes of this meeting will form the consultation response of the Committee for the consideration by the Corporate Policy Committee.


The committee adjourned for a short break. Councillors Beanland and Hayes left the meeting and did not return.

Supporting documents: