Agenda item

DSG Deficit Management Plan update


Christine Thomson highlighted the high needs deficit this year of £1.4m, which if no action is taken will recur in future years.  The DfE require LAs to produce a deficit plan within a 3-year period, although they will consider a 5-year plan.


Wirral’s preference is to spread savings over the maximum period of 5 years, using the first 3 years to recover the in deficits.  The DfE have provided a planning tool for LAs to complete.  Once other LAs have completed the tool then benchmarking data will be available to compare with other LAs.


To date there have been a number of meetings with stakeholders to both review and contribute to the development of proposals.  The 13 proposals in appendix 1 are to be reviewed, based on financial savings of 3, 5, 10 and 20%.


Appendix 2 shows the actual High Needs spend for the 2019-20 financial year.


Consideration needs to be given to the actions required to achieve these savings and what the impact would be to reduce spend.


Townfield base is currently having difficulties and there are concerns that cuts may cause closure.  It was noted that this is a regional provision. Further information is going


Forum members confirmed that primary, secondary and special headteachers will issue statements to the Director for Children, Families & Schools concerning the 13 proposals in appendix 3.


The concerns of the Forum members are

·  The proposals are currently financial based with percentage cuts

·  Savings should come from the strategy and forward planning rather than financial needs. 

·  Each proposal needs to be analysed and reviewed based on the impact of funding to children

·  Out of Brough spend continues to increase and consideration is required to shape Wirral special schools to meet the needs of those children, so they do not go out of borough.

·  review how the central staff could be better used to provide support to schools at a lower cost.



The Premier Advisory Group carried out a review of High Needs Provision in Wirral. The proposals were presented to Council in December 2019.  In consultation with elected members the Council made the decision not to take up the recommendations at that time due to insufficient consultation with a number of key stakeholders.  Concerning the Kingsway proposal, it  was felt that didn’t take into account of additional needs of pupils. On the wider subject of high needs places in special and mainstream schools the council is in discussions & does intend to consult.  The Leadership do recognise the challenge of high needs places in Wirral and meetings with senior colleagues have been set up to develop plans going forward.  There were concerns about the pressing timeline if actions aren’t taken up as soon as possible.


Schools Forum members recognised the urgency required to deal with this situation and if plans are delayed, saving s in future years will be more hard hitting.  It will be difficult to recommend a budget to committee in January while issues around the High Needs deficit remain unresolved.



Forum noted the report


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