(a) Schools’ Finance Group (including DEF minute 41, Health and Social Care Levy Payments)
Minutes of the Schools Finance Group (SFG), 6 June 2022, attached.
In relation to DEF minute 41, Health and Social Care Levy Payments, SFG minute 5, Recommendation:-
(i) that Funding mechanism for High Needs providers (AP and special schools) to be aligned; and
(ii) that Uplift for 2022-23 to be considered of 2.75% to top up rates in addition to a lump sum payment given for the supplementary 1% levy based on the top up value for Devon Wave AP provision as well as special schools.
SFG minutes also available at
(b) Finance Update Report of Chief Officer for Children’s Services and Director of Finance (DEF/22/08) attached.
(Mr Gasson, Alternative Provision representative declared an interest in this matter and withdrew from voting in relation to decision (a)(i) – (a)(ii)).
(a) Schools Finance Group Minutes, 6 June 2022
The Forum considered the above minutes, including:-
- DEF minute 41, Health and Social Care Levy Payments (SFG minute item 5);
-proposed action in relation to SFG minute item 1 (Schools’ Non-Domestic Rates), in liaising with District Councils to arrange centralised payment); and
-schools to be encouraged to consider and question the impact on minimum per pupil funding levels and Additional Educational Need (AEN) factor changes proposals within the autumn funding consultation on individual schools, during the consultation period (SFG minute item 4).
SFG minutes also available at
(a) that in relation to DEF minute 41, Health and Social Care Levy Payments/ SFG minute item 5 Funding for Alternative Provision:-
(i) the funding mechanism for High Needs providers (Alternative Provision and Special Schools) be aligned;
(ii) that uplift for 2022-23 to be considered of 2.75% to top up rates in addition to a lump sum payment given for the supplementary 1% levy based on the top up value for Devon Alternative Provision and Special Schools (i.e. maintained and academy Special Schools);
(Vote: (a)(i)-(ii), Schools, Academies and PVI Members)
(b) that the minutes of the Schools Finance Group (SFG), 6 June 2022 be received and the proposed action in relation to SFG minute items 1 and 4 above be noted.
(b) Finance Update Report
The Forum considered the Report of Chief Officer for Children’s Services and Director of Finance (DEF/22/08).
The draft outturn position for the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) showed an overspend of £7.7 million prior to transfers to the DSG Deficit Reserve and ringfenced balances. Although this was an improvement of £2.3 million from month 11 position the continued demand on High Needs and on Special Educational Needs placements within the independent sector continued to drive the pressure which remained extremely concerning. The deficit balance would be transferred to the DSG adjustment account. The in-year increasing DSG deficit could have a considerable impact on future education budgets within the DSG as well as impacting on the financial sustainability for Devon County Council. An urgent action was still required to reduce the demand on Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) and independent placements.
In response to Member’s questions, the Director of Finance advised that:-
-Devon was still awaiting a response from the DfE regarding the outcome of the Safety Valve Intervention Programme and the possible Capitalisation Direction (paragraph 1.2 of the Report). The DfE recognised Devon’s management plan work and business case, but were clarifying the position on capitalisation before submission to the Treasury for approval. Members were concerned that the delayed confirmation of Devon’s proposals could have a significant impact on this financial year and the management plan overall. Whilst work was progressing in the background in the meantime, the magnitude of the deficit could have a severe impact on Devon’s ability to respond to this and its wider issues should a DfE/Treasury decision be further delayed; and
-further consideration could be given to the ring-fenced the Disability Access Fund carry forward to see how this may be utiltised for both early years and statutory school age disadvantaged children.
Whilst the Report (DEF/22/08) asked the Forum to note most aspects of the report in updating Members on the current position, Members expressed concern at the continued DSG position and the potential impact of a delayed confirmation of the Safety Valve Intervention Programme (referred to above).
(a) that the DSG Draft Outturn position (subject to Statement of Accounts sign off) as set out in sections 1-6 of Report (DEF/22/08) be noted;
(b) that the surplus budget carry forwards for Schools, de-delegated, central school services and High needs as set out in Section 7, table 5 of Report (DEF/22/08) be noted;
(c) that Cabinet be recommended:- that the Early Years surplus carry forwards as set out in Section 7, table 5 be approved;
(Vote: Schools, Academies and PVI members)
(d) that the Individual School Balances carry forwards as set out in Section 7, table 6 of Report (DEF/22/08) be noted;
(e) that the DSG Deficit Reserve transfer as set out in Section 7, table 7 of Report (DEF/22/08) be noted;
(f) that the Forum be informed when the DfE/Treasury Safety Valve Intervention Programme decision was known; and
(g) that the Schools Finance Group be requested to consider Early Years pupil premium and how the Disability Access Fund may see a reduction in the ring-fencing/be distributed.
Director of Finance (Adrian Fox)