Herts Conservatives fail to use "windfall money" to support children in need


Despite a last minute boost to Herts County Council coffers of £12.8m that the Conservative-run council had not originally budgeted for they have refused to use £1m of this to provide extra support to the hard pressed Special Educational Needs (SEND) budget.

The Liberal Democrat opposition Group proposed a budget amendment to use just £1m of the £12.8m rather than agree with the Conservatives that the extra unallocated cash go into reserves for a "rainy day".

The £1m would have funded more officers to tackle the serious backlog of Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs), and funded the use of private Educational Psychologists and Speech and Language experts who are desperately needed to provide accurate and appropriate plans.

Councillor Mark Watkin, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Education and Children's Services said, "Our proposal would have ensured more Educational Health Care Plans would be completed on time and with all the relevant supporting assessments. This service is in crisis and must have a dedicated Executive Member for SEND to show children, parents, and schools that the County Council is committed to addressing this dreadful situation."

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, called the Conservative run council "mean spirited, heartless and disgraceful for failing to support children in need when they had the ability and money to make a difference."