Massive disparity in LSCB funding across London

A snapshot survey has revealed a massive disparity in the levels of funding received by local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) across London boroughs.

The studyof 23 boroughs carried out by the London Safeguarding Children Board, found annual safeguarding board budgets varied from as little as £51,550 in one borough to as much as £294,796 in another.

The contributions made by various agencies also differed greatly. Boroughs’ children’s services departments gave anything from £30,000 to £175,295 towards their local boards.

The amount of funding given by health services was similarly variable, ranging from £7,750 in one locality to £60,000 in another.

Police funding was one of the most consistent, because the Child Abuse Investigation Command gave £5,000 to each board in the capital.

However, this was supplemented in some local areas through extra funding from borough policing and, in one case, a special crime and disorder grant.

Mental health trusts gave additional money to safeguarding boards in some areas – this ranged from an extra £2,500 annually to £24,000.

In one area, the safeguarding board budget received a boost since it carried over £98,575 of unspent funding from previous years. Another board was given £10,000 from the local Community Safety Partnership.

Cheryl Coppell, chair of the London Safeguarding Children Board, said: “We provide support for LSCBs, but this must sit alongside strong local engagement from all partners. With most boards working to ever tighter budgets, a firm focus on providing robust leadership and challenge in core areas such as quality assurance will be increasingly important, and LSCBs must be given sufficient resources to do this effectively.”