I have been Lead Member for Children and Young People in Wrecsam County Borough Council for just over 18 months and most of my time is spent attending meetings to try and get the Safeguarding and Support budget in line. This budget has historically been overspent or in my view underfunded, but how do I prove its an underfunding and not overspending? Perhaps the best way is to compare budgets with similar authorities but there is a big problem; most Local Authorities have one Social Services Department covering both Adult and Children Social Care and to try and disaggregate the budgets is not an exact science. In Wrecsam we have an Integrated Children's Services and a separate Adult Social Care Department, so its nigh impossible to reliably compare, say Flintshire's spend on Children's Social Care and Wrecsam's. One of the few authorities in Wales who have an Integrated Children's Services like Wrecsam is Sir Gar (Carmarthenshire). A comparison of funding between Wrecsam and Sir Gar on Children's Social Care revealed some surprises:
Sir Gar's Children's Social Care Budget 2008/09 £15,685,697
Wrecsam CBC Children's Social Care Budget 2008/09 £ 9,675,845.
Population 0-18 yrs Sir Gar 37,772
Population 0-18 yrs Wrecsam 29,984
Overspend Sir Gar, 2008/09 £424,747
Overspend Wrecsam 2008/09 £930,000
Budget per head of population 0-18 Sir Gar £415.
Budget per head of population 0-18 Wrecsam £322.
Clearly this is not the whole story what I haven't done is compare Sir Gar and Wrecsam's total budget for 2008/09 and calculate it per head but I doubt if its this wide; which points towards a historical underfunding of Children's Social Care in Wrecsam.