The UK Government commissioned an independent review of the children’s social care in 2021, which was referred to as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform systems and services” in England. This concluded in 2022 with the review making multiple recommendations to enact change, including an additional £2.6 billion investment into the sector.  

The UK Government then responded to the care review in 2023 by publishing it's ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’ implementation strategy’. Although the UK Government described its strategy as “bold and ambitious”, making a “compelling case for change”, NYAS expressed concern that the current strategy is neither bold or ambitious.   

NYAS’ Response 

NYAS welcomes the Education Committee’s inquiry, as we remain concerned by the UK Government’s lack of progress in delivering meaningful reform across the sector, compounded by a lack of urgency in delivering this. Our response focused on the rising costs facing local authorities delivering core services, insufficiency of provision and the efficacy of the government’s strategy.  

With the number of children living in care in England rising to just over 82,000 this past year, we are calling on the government to make the promised reforms of children’s social care a top priority. At present, NYAS believes the Government’s Implementation Strategy lacks the much-needed ambition and urgency to deliver transformative reform of children’s social care. 

The delivery of children’s services has fast become one of the biggest budgetary issues facing local authorities in several years, with current funding levels unable to meet demand.  

The Care Review recommended the UK Government invest £2.6 billion into children’s social care between 2023 and 2027 to reform the current system. However, less than 8% of this total amount was committed to the Implementation Strategy. Had the full investment been committed, the Care Review estimated that by 2032-2033, there would have been 30,000 fewer children looked after than current projections. Without this investment, the number of children entering the care system is set to rise. In our response to the Education Committee Inquiry, we have called for the UK Government to invest an additional £2 billion in early help intervention reforms.  

NYAS will continue to campaign for a brighter future for care-experienced children, young people and adults in vulnerable situations across England. We look forward to continuing our efforts to achieve transformative change across children’s social care.  

NYAS’ full response to the inquiry can be read here.