TO:     Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning

DATE: 30 March 2022



Local Authority Proposals for the 2022-23 High Needs Block Budget

Executive Director: People


1          Purpose of Report


1.1          The purpose of this report is to seek agreement from the Executive Member to set the 2022-23 High Needs Block (HNB) element of the Schools Budget after taking account of any comments made by the Schools Forum.



2          Recommendation


2.1          That the Executive Member AGREES the 2022-23 proposals for the High needs Block Budget reported to the Schools Forum on 22 March as set out in paragraph 3.1 of Appendix A.



3          Reasons for Recommendation


3.1          To ensure that the Schools Budget is set taking account of the views of the Executive, schools, the Schools Forum and the statutory funding framework.



4          Alternative Options Considered


4.1       The proposals reflect the actions contained in the SEND Commissioning Strategy.



5          Supporting Information


5.1          Whilst spending on the Schools Budget is funded by the ring fenced Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), and therefore outside of the Council’s funding responsibilities, Local Authorities (LA) retain a statutory duty to set the overall level of the Schools Budget before the start of each financial year. In deciding the relevant amount, LAs must plan to spend at least to the level of estimated DSG and can also take account of any accumulated under or overspending on the Schools Budget from previous years.


5.2          The recommendation in this report is in accordance with the recommendations expected to be agreed by the Schools Forum at its meeting of 22 March. Budget decisions taken by the Executive Member have always been in accordance with the wishes of the Schools Forum, and the recommendations on this paper maintain that position. Decisions around the Schools Block and Early Years Block elements of the Schools Budget have already been taken by the Leader of the council.


5.3          The Executive Member has observer status on the Schools Forum, receiving all reports and entitled to attend meetings, and is therefore actively involved in the operation and deliberations of the Schools Forum.

6          Advice Received from Statutory and other Officers


            Borough Solicitor


6.1          The relevant legal provisions are addressed within the main body of the report to Schools Forum.


Director of Finance


6.2          The financial implications anticipated at this stage confirm the expected significant financial difficulties that will arise on HNB budgets. A number of developments are planned that are expected to contribute over the medium-term to widening choice and cost reduction. However, a significant funding gap remains, and further work is required to move to a sustainable budget position.


Equalities Impact Assessment


6.3       There are no specific impacts arising from this report.


Strategic Risk Management Issues


6.4       These are set out in Appendix A of the Schools Forum report.



7          Consultation


            Principal Groups Consulted


7.1       People DMT, Schools Forum.


            Method of Consultation


7.2       Written reports.


            Representations Received


7.3       Where relevant, included in the reports.


Background Papers




Contact for further information


Paul Clark, Finance Business Partner – People Directorate                                     4054


Doc. Ref Forum/Exec Member Reports/2022-23 HN Block Elements of the Schools Budget v4.docx



Approved by Cllr Dr Gareth Barnard                          Approved by Grainne Siggins

Executive Member, Children, Young People             Executive Director: People

& Learning                                                                  




Signature………………………………………...          Signature……………………………


Date:  30 March 2022                                                 Date:  30 March 2022





Appendix A


Recommendations agreed by Schools Forum:

As amended from published version reported to 29 March Schools Forum




2022-23 Proposals for the High Needs Block Budget

Executive Director of People





3.1.    That the Forum agrees that the Executive Member:


1.         sets the HNB budget at £28.907m, and commits to the presentation of an ambitious medium term (5 year) plan at its meeting in November 2022, setting out options to balance annual expenditure to annual income. This plan should:

a.         include a significant increase in local, effective provision within Bracknell Forest; and

b.         be designed to meet the needs of our children and young people in a more cost effective and efficient way

2.         releases £0.210m of funds from the SEND Units Reserve to finance ongoing diseconomy costs at the new Special Resource Provisions with the commitment to providing:

a.         clear data about the uptake of places at SRPs and progress towards meeting Key Performance Indicators; and

b.         a strategic approach to the transition of children from Primary SRPs to secondary education, in place from September 2023

3.         confirms the changes set out in the supporting information at Table 1 and Annex 2 of Appendix 1 subject to the commitment outlined in paragraph 3.1.1 above

4.         confirms relevant budgets to those summarised in Annex 3, Appendix 1.



The relevant Schools Forum report can be viewed in full here:


Agenda for Schools Forum on Tuesday, 29 March 2022, 4.30 pm | Bracknell Forest Council (