Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board has called on the government to produce a working threshold for councils across the country, which would clarify their duties in relation to children in need.

The call came after Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, warned that there was widespread confusion over council’s responsibilities as local authorities cut back services in order to keep running.

In an interview with Public Finance magazine yesterday, Longfield said:

“There needs to be clarity around what the statutory minimum requirement is… There are many hundreds of thousands of children who are deemed to be in need who we know are not getting any form of discernible support…The consequences of them not getting support could be catastrophic.”

Bramble also spoke with PF:

“I think you do need more clarity around those statutory requirements as the level of intervention and thresholds is different across councils and it would be helpful if we had a universal threshold.”

Bramble went on to say that cutbacks were causing services to become “reactive” rather than preventative, meaning that councils were trying to preempt ongoing financial challenges by slashing budgets for services.