Local Government Association responds to report on child gangs

By agency reporter
March 5, 2019

Responding to a report on child gangs in England by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “The exploitation of children and vulnerable young people by gangs is a significant and growing concern for councils, who take this issue extremely seriously.

“Effective partnership working at a local level between councils, the police, health services, charities and community organisations is essential to tackle and prevent violent crime by young people and safeguard those exploited by criminal gangs.

“Councils are working hard to identify and protect children and young people at risk of abuse through county lines activity, but this is increasingly difficult in a climate of ongoing funding cuts and soaring demand for urgent child protection work.

“Children’s services are now starting more than 500 child protection investigations every day, but face a £3.1 billion funding gap by 2025. This is forcing councils to divert funding away from preventative work into services to protect children who are at immediate risk of harm.

“To help stop young people being criminally exploited or groomed, it is vital that government reverses years of funding cuts to local youth services, youth offending teams and councils’ public health budgets, which needs to be addressed in the Spending Review.”

  • Councils were forced to cut spending on local youth services by nearly 40 per cent, from £650 million in 2010/11 to £390 million in 2016/17, as a result of government funding cuts.
  • Government funding for Youth Offending Teams has been halved from £145 million in 2010/11 to £72 million in 2017/18.
  • Councils’ public health grants from central government have been reduced by £700 million in real terms between 2015/16 and 2019/20.
  • Councils are carrying out 500 child protection investigations a day, up from 200 a day a decade ago.

* Read Keeping kids safe: Improving safeguarding responses to gang violence and criminal exploitation here

* Local Government Association https://www.local.gov.uk/

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