Child Poverty Work Sits on a Shelf
At Last weeks Children Education and Families Scrutiny Committee (CSF) I raised a question on the work carried out by a Single Issue Panel (SIP) on Child Poverty. The CSF committee submitted its findings and recommendations via the full council. This was because the committee felt this important issue should have the wider support of all Councillors.
However, it is the Cabinet who will make the final decision due to the budgetary implications and the need for approval of extra spending, especially for the role of a Strategic Lead to actually tackle this huge issue.
It turns out under further questioning to senior officers and Cabinet Member that no extra funding has even been earmarked to tackle this. Even at the recent Star Chamber this very issue was not even discussed. Which I can only interpret as no extra money will be set aside. The Star Chamber process is the councils yearly senior officer and Portfolio Holder meetings which looks at the future budget, and where money will be spent.
There is good work currently being carried out to tackle Child Poverty by the council, Councillors and other agencies, but this needs to be done on a larger, more strategic plan. In the SIPs findings, it highlighted after seven months work for this Strategic Lead to be appointed if anything is ever going to change.
The CSF committee was rightly annoyed and has sent a strong message back to Cabinet to address this issue. The recommendation to Cabinet is:
The Committee expresses its frustration and disappointment that key recommendations of the Deprivation and Child Poverty Single Issue Panel have so far been ignored and not progressed further in any way.
Let’s see if anything changes.