St Helens Council will transfer £300,000 from its reserves due to an “urgent need” to ensure it can deliver a safe SEND service.
A delegated decision on the council’s website says there is a risk the local authority will be unable to meet its statutory obligations under the Children and Families Act 2014 if it does not invest the cash.
It has therefore been decided to transfer £300,000 from the council’s children’s services reserve to continue to support the delivery of statutory requirements under the SEND code of practice.
A council spokesman added that an underspend of £131,000 from the Department for Education’s (DfE) SEND reform grant, which finished in 2017-18, was subsequently rolled into the children’s services reserve.
“At present, the cost of running the service are met from the main budget and from the SEND reserve,” the notice says
“The core budget has not been revised to take account of the new requirements and additional capacity has been established from the reform grant issued to local authorities for three years to support the implementation of the Children and Families Act.
“2018-19 was the final year of the DfE grant.
“There is therefore an urgent need to ensure that council has sufficient capacity to deliver a safe service.”
The notice adds that a review of the SEND service to see if it meets the requirements of the Children and Families Act has highlighted a “shortfall” in the current structure.
It says a report on this is due to be presented to cabinet.