Issue - meetings

DSG Deficit Position

Meeting: 12/07/2023 - Cabinet (Item 24)

24 Project Safety Valve Update and Dedicated Schools Grant Deficit Recovery pdf icon PDF 302 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People is attached.


Councillor Lucy Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the report which provided an update on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) deficit position and the next steps required to reduce the deficit through General Fund contributions. In response to questions, Members confirmed their confidence in the delivery, despite financial pressures, and discussed the issues from the national system and need for reforms to ease pressure in SEND services. 




1.    Noted the work and modelling that has been completed for the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) management plan submission to the Department for Education (DfE) that describes the unprecedented demand on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) services despite intense activity through the SEND strategy and the specific Project Safety Valve (PSV) interventions and workstreams;

2.    Noted the urgent action required before the submission of the plan on 18 July; and

3.    Noted the intention to a reduction of the deficit position through use of the General Fund over a 3-year period: £2m in 2025/26, £2m in 2026/27, £2m 2027/28. This will be facilitated by the identification of additional savings during the MTFS process for each of the respective years. The financial mechanism supporting this will be subject to DfE confirmation.


Reasons for the decision:

There is a risk that the current Project Safety Valve Agreement with DfE would be withdrawn, which would mean that the Council would not receive the remaining £6m within the agreement to contribute towards the historic deficit. The deficit at the end of the 2022/23 financial year was £18.6m.


Other options considered and rejected:

We have considered further discussions with DfE. However, the position of the DfE has been made plain in recent discussions and they are clear in their expectations, having required the same type of commitment from other local authorities within Project Safety Valve.