Children’s Services UK Market Report 6ed

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Is the private sector ready to capitalise on the Children’s Services stability?

The sixth edition of LaingBuisson’s Children’s Services UK Market Report is essential reading for anyone involved in this vital part of the UK’s social care sector, be they a provider, a commissioner, an investor, an advisor or a policy maker. Written and researched by leading industry expert and commentator, Tim Read, this industry standard report provides unique and in-depth insight into all areas of the market, and specifically focuses on children’s care and special education within the Children’s Services market, including foster care, adoption, children’s residential care, leaving care, and special schools and colleges, but also covering safeguarding and other related services.

Focusing on the 2022/23 calendar year, the report offers expert analysis into the £20.56 billion sector. It shows that number of looked after children has continued to grow over the last decade, although 2020/21 saw a marginal volume decline. The impact of background economic conditions and the associated pressure on family situations may suggest that there is likely to be continued volume growth ahead.

The report reflects upon the impact of Covid-19 on the market, which has demonstrated the defensibility of sectors backed by statutory public funding providing essential support to vulnerable people. The attractiveness of the sector has meant that investment activity has bounced back.

The statutory underpinning of these services highlights the essential nature of these services and the importance placed on them by society. As a result, services covered in this report are primarily funded by the public sector. Government instability has bought change and reform in the sector to a crawl. With EHC statements on the rise, coupled with supply constraints and an ongoing retirement of suppliers; how much has the independent sector stepped in where Government supply has been lacking?

“Using historic government expenditure as a proxy, spending on children and young people’s services and special education has increased rapidly over the last decade, alongside a period of volume growth as demand for these services increased. This growth evidences a sector which has been towards the top of its business cycle, driven by high levels of demand for social care services, and record levels of children and young people with high needs that are being funded.

Whilst there is evidence of concern within government to get a tighter grip on expenditure, particularly within special education, this has limited impact on rising expenditure to date. With a general election on the horizon, it would seem unlikely that the government will actively target cuts in an area that could easily cause a media-driven public backlash given the vulnerability of those involved.”

Tim Read
– Report Author

Published: 7th December 2022

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