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A model of the determinants of expenditure on children's personal social services


  • Roy Carr-Hill

    () (Centre for Health Economics, The University of York)

  • Paul Dixon
  • Russell Mannion
  • Nigel Rice

    () (Centre for Health Economics, The University of York)

  • Kai Rudat
  • Ruth Sinclair
  • Peter Smith

    () (Centre for Health Economics, The University of York)


Every year the United Kingdom central government assesses the relative spending needs of English local authorities in respect of the services for which is it responsible. This is done by estimating a Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) for each service, which is intended to indicate the spending requirements of an authority if it were to adopt a standard level of services, given the circumstances in its area. In practice, statistical methods are used to develop SSAs for most services. This report describes the findings of a study designed to review the methods for setting SSAs for a single service: personal social services (PSS) for children, which in 1995/96 accounting for about £1.8 billion of expenditure (4.4% of total local government expenditure). The study was commissioned by the Department of Health and undertaken by a consortium which comprised The University of York, MORI and the National Children’s Bureau. The study was guided by a technical advisory group, comprising representatives from the local authority associations and the Department of Health. In seeking to limit the length of the report, the authors have necessarily omitted a great deal of the technical material produced in the course of the study. We understand that the Department of Health is willing to make this material and the data used in the study available to interested parties, subject to certain confidentiality restrictions. Existing methodology for constructing SSAs had been the subject of some criticism, both in general and specifically in respect of children’s PSS. This document reports the results of a study designed to apply a radically new statistical approach to estimating the SSA for children’s PSS. Previous methods were based on statistical analysis of local authority aggregate data. In contrast, this study is based on an analysis of PSS spending in 1,036 small areas (with populations of about 10,000) within 25 local authorities. A relatively new statistical method known as multilevel modelling, which was originally developed in the educational sector, was used for this purpose.

Suggested Citation

  • Roy Carr-Hill & Paul Dixon & Russell Mannion & Nigel Rice & Kai Rudat & Ruth Sinclair & Peter Smith, 1997. "A model of the determinants of expenditure on children's personal social services," Working Papers 030cheop, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:chy:respap:30cheop

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Blundell & Frank Windmeijer, 1997. "Cluster effects and simultaneity in multilevel models," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 439-443.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nigel Rice & Paul Dixon & David Lloyd & David Roberts, 1999. "Derivation of a needs based capitation formula for allocation prescribing budgets," Working Papers 034cheop, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    2. Glen Bramley & Martin Evans, 2000. "Getting the smaller picture: small-area analysis of public expenditure incidence and deprivation in three English cities," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(2), pages 231-267, June.
    3. Moscone, Francesco & Knapp, Martin & Tosetti, Elisa, 2007. "Mental health expenditure in England: A spatial panel approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 842-864, July.

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    children; SSA; social services;


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