Agenda item

Section 251 Budget Statement 2018/19

(To receive a report from Elizabeth Bowes, Strategic Finance Manager, Schools Finance Team, which provides the Schools' Forum with a copy of the Section 251 budget statement for the 2018/19 financial year)


The Forum gave consideration to a report from Elizabeth Bowes, Strategic Finance Manager Schools Finance Team, which provided a copy of the Section 251 budget statement for the 2018/19 financial year.


It was reported that the Local Authority (LA) was required under s251 of the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 to prepare and submit an education and children's social care budget statement for the relevant period to the Secretary of State for Education (DfE) by 30 April each year.  The Forum was advised that the Section s251 return was intended to provide a clear picture of the LA's planned spending on its schools budget, de-delegated items, high needs budget, early years budget, central provision within the schools budget and children and young people's services.


The Forum noted that the information for 2018/19 had been submitted to the DfE via its collection and management system for education.  It was noted further that the LA, to ensure compliance with statutory requirements published the Early Years report, the LA table report and the Schools Table report in the 'Downloads' section of the LCC's website. 


It was highlighted that the overall Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) funding was considered when the LA completed its annual detailed budget setting exercise and certain budgets were formally approved by the Forum in January 2018.  It was highlighted further that for 2018/19, the DSG comprised of four blocks: the Schools Block, Central Schools Services Block (CSSB), High Needs Block and Early Years Block, with each block having been determined by a separate national funding formula.  The Forum noted that LA's were only able to transfer 0.5% of the Schools Block to another block, following consultation with all schools and academies and approval of the Schools Forum.  It was noted that no budget transfer had been made in 2018/19 from the Schools Block.  It was noted further that movements of budget from the Central Schools Services Block, or from the High Needs Block to any other block were not subject to any limit, and could be made in consultation with the Schools Forum.  The Forum supported the transfer of savings (£0.250m) from the CSSB to the Schools Block to enable the LA to fully implement the national funding formula in 2018/19.


Attached to the report at Table 1 was a copy of the Schools Funding arrangements for 2018/19.  The table provided an overall picture of the funding being allocated direct to schools and high needs delegations, and the amount being spent on education centrally and children's social care.  The Forum were taken through the detail shown in Table 1.


It was reported that in 2018/19 Lincolnshire had received £5.2m of protection funding following the implementation of the new High Needs national funding formula to provide stability against the previous year's funding level.  The Forum noted that for 2019/20, the High Needs Block was planned to increase by 0.5% (or £0.374m).  As limited financial growth planned was not aligned to local data, the LA would continue to undertake detailed monitoring and trend analysis to ensure affordability of the High Needs Block, and continue to lobby central government in relation to cost pressures in the High Needs area.  It was highlighted that funding levels post 2019/20 were the subject of the government's next spending review.


In conclusion, the Forum was advised that a further report of the s251 benchmarking would be received later in the year, following publication of LA's data by the DfE.




            That the Section 251 Budget Statement for 2018/19 be noted.

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