(UK) Oldham: "Damning" report on SPED services; $6M (US) overspend

July 6, 2018, Manchester Evening News: Millions overspent on children's services and special needs officers 'on their knees' - what happened in your town halls this week Officers are ‘on their knees’ as Oldham struggles to transform its services for youngsters with disabilities and learning difficulties The council is currently working through the fallout from a damning Ofsted inspection at the end of last year into its special educational needs and disability (SEND) services…. But the quality of education, health and care plans, the special needs assessments carried out by councils to establish what support a child requires, are ‘not great’, Merlin Joseph, interim director of children’s services said. And she told members of the borough’s health and wellbeing board that staff in the SEND department are struggling under their caseload volume and numbers of new applications. Salford council has overspent nearly £6 million on their children’s services. The department had a budget worth £107m but ended up spending £5.9m more, although the council was able to make up for it in other areas. Councillor Bill Hinds told a scrutiny meeting at the town hall: “Many of the problems in children’s services are demand led – you can’t turn away kids going into care.” But he said that the council is monitoring the service ‘very closely.’ A recent council report said that the overspend was ‘due to increasing demand for needs led services.’