A report from the Executive Director People is attached. (Key decision – reference number 5296)
Councillor Rick Jewell (Cabinet Member for Children’s Services) introduced the report of the Executive Director People.
1. That the report detailed the Council’s proposed response to help remedy the current High Needs Block overspend. The suggested approaches and investment proposals had been recommended by the Schools Forum.
2. That an independent review in 2020 had recommended an increase in early intervention and an expansion of in-borough provision and a reduction in independent placements, as detailed in the report. In addition, the report of the Enfield Poverty and Inequality Commission had previously recommended that children should be “school ready”. The proposals in the report supported these recommendations.
3. That the proposals were intended to ensure that children and young people received a service as soon as it was required, helping to prevent the need for more intensive intervention in the future.
4. Members welcomed the recommendations and reiterated the Council’s commitment to the provision of these essential services to children and young people in the Borough.
5. That the investment in the provision of such early intervention services would be beneficial in the long-term and, it was anticipated would in time reduce pressure on adult social care services.
6. In response to questions raised, an explanation was provided on ways in which the services could be accessed and the support that would be available to children and young people and their families.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, that currently it was necessary for the Council to provide additional ad hoc funding on an annual basis. This ensured that statutory obligations were met as more children and young people access these services. This option was costly and difficult to budget.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to approve the use of High Needs Block funding to invest in two early intervention models: Speech, Language and Communication Needs; and, Autism.
Reason: NOTED, the detailed reasons for the proposals as set out in paragraphs 4 to 7 of the report.
(Key decision – reference number 5296)