To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to section 7.3 of the Spending Review 2020, what estimate he has made of the number of additional places in secure children's homes that will be made available through the £24 million announced for such homes; and what the planned timescale is for making those places available.
2 December 2020
The department’s capital grants programme for the current spending review period will, once completed, increase available placements by 17 beds across the secure children’s home estate. This includes some beds which are for use as ‘step-down’ provision. The grants programme has, in total, funded approximately 130 projects across the estate. We expect that the budget will be spent in full by March 2021, however, the completion of some projects has been delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications for grants were assessed and awarded to various projects which ensured secure children’s homes could continue to operate in safe, secure, and well-functioning buildings, and that children needing a secure placement have their education, welfare, and well-being promoted and supported by the home’s environment.
On 25 November 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced as part of the Spending Review that the government will provide £24 million during the 2021/22 financial year to start a new programme to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure children’s homes. This will provide high quality, safe homes for some of our most vulnerable children, and will mean children can live closer to their families and support networks, in settings that meet their needs. This is the most significant one-year investment in the secure children’s homes estate in the last 10 years. We will set out further details in due course.