Children's Social Care - UK - April 2015
“The structure of the children’s social care market has inevitably been affected by the government-led public expenditure cuts over the last five years, as local authorities dictate the quantity of services provided and which companies provide them. However, the sector has avoided the widespread cuts seen in adult social care as only a few areas have seen spending fall. The Children and Families Act has led to many reforms, particularly with SEN care and adoption, but further changes to the market are still required. The dual role of LAs as commissioners and providers of care can still disrupt the efficiency of the market and the lack of suitable local market information increases the likelihood of children’s care needs not being met.”
– Lewis Cone, B2B Analyst
This report will explore the following key issues regarding the children’s social care industry in the UK:
- What are the key determinants driving the industry?
- Was the market affected by the financial crisis and how has it recovered since? Have there been any structural changes as a consequence?
- How has the government influenced and shaped the development of the sector?
- What are the key issues the UK industry needs to address to be able to improve efficiency and performance?
- What does the future hold for the UK children’s social care industry?
The number of children looked after is expected to continue to rise. With budgetary restrictions likely to continue regardless of the election result, children’s services will be stretched to their limits to ensure that each child has equal access to different care types. However, with independent provision becoming more dominant in the sector, concerns will remain over private company intentions and whether they are doing their utmost to provide high quality services or are foregoing this to achieve greater profitability. The popularity of fostering services may also pose problems in the near future as the UK shortage of foster families is expected to widen and become a market issue. The impact of recent child abuse scandals, and subsequent inquiries, may also lead to stronger cases for policy and regulatory changes.
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