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Managing demand for children’s services

Children’s services cost local government in excess of £8 billion every year. For many local authorities these services are a significant portion of their annual budget. The children’s services sector has consistently warned that it is facing a growing crisis of financial and service sustainability, as demand for its services increases and local government funding decreases.

The study will examine how effectively local government, supported by central government, is managing demand for children’s services.  This will include looking at: how demand for children’s services is changing and the financial pressures this brings for local authorities; how local authorities are responding to the pressures; and the Department’s support for local authorities in managing demand for children’s services.

This study is part of the NAO’s continuing programme on children’s services provided by local authorities. It expands on our recent report ‘Financial sustainability of local authorities 2018’ (March 2018) and follows our report ‘Children in need of help or protection’ (October 2016).

If you would like to provide evidence for our study please email the study team on enquiries@nao.gsi.gov.uk putting the study title in the subject line. The team will consider the evidence you provide; however, please note that due to the volume of information we receive we may not respond to you directly. If you need to raise a concern please use our contact form