SLOUGH’S children’s services will see a ‘substantial’ £1.4m cut from government as it needs to find millions of pounds in savings in the coming years.

The Department for Education (DfE) has notified the council wholly-owned company Slough Children First (SCF) that it will be slashing its £2.2m grant to the region of £800,000 next year and potentially less in the future.

A report presented to councillors sitting on the audit and governance committee warned the loss of this funding will need to be filled from additional savings or support from Slough Borough Council.

SCF is currently overspending its budget by £4m. It is also needing to make about £4.7m savings this year and a further £1.9m in 2023/24 as part of a savings programme the council is needing to take.

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It has requested a further £1.1m to invest in Early Help to reduce costs in future years. The report states: ‘There is a risk that the company could go into liquidation if it does not mitigate the loss or receive financial support from the council.’

Speaking at the meeting on July 28, Cllr Safdar Ali (Lab: Central) said: “The council needs to be careful on how much money it can keep plugging into Slough Children First.”

The interim chief executive of SCF, Andrew Fraser, who is leaving in December, said they are working on a business case to find savings but national problems, such as the shortage of social workers and increased demand and complex cases, are hindering progress.

He said: “If we don’t do anything, we could end up being in an unsustainable financial position and capacity position.

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“So, we need to look at a way of using some investment in order to reduce our demand and develop an edge of care service, which reduces the likelihood of children coming into care and that’s our most expensive issue.

“These are dynamic budgets, and we will be presenting a report to cabinet in October.”

One of the savings works includes restructuring SCF and slashing its temporary staff and replace them with permanent employees.

This would create nearly £1m in its agency workforce budget and reduce £340,000 in targeted early help by deleting job posts.

Mr Fraser said they have been successful in recruiting overseas workers but there has been a delay in visas, causing delays in creating innovate teams within the company.