NEWPORT council will be required to pay less towards a children’s special needs service this year – after saying it would leave the regional collaboration.

However a claim the city council will save £60,000 on last year’s costs has been disputed.

Newport council had planned to leave SenCom, stating that it could set up an equivalent service and save £250,000 per year.


But after a backlash – and an offer of financial support from the Welsh Local Government Association – the council reversed its decision and has now committed to staying until at least 2022.

Council leader, Cllr Debbie Wilcox, announced on Wednesday that the amount the council is required to pay towards the service will be reduced by £60,000 this year.

It would mean that out of the £250,000 that Newport council had hoped to save, it will now only need to pay £190,000.

Money from a council underspend will be used to cover the cost.

Councillor Gail Giles, cabinet member for education, welcomed the reduction in cost to the authority.

“It’s an issue we raised and questioned when it came to costings as part of our duty to council taxpayers,” she told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“I think we are all pleased the recommendation has come back agreeing to a reduction.”

Councillor Wilcox also welcomed the reduction, and said that the council had been “paying too much.”

However Torfaen council, the lead authority for SenCom, has said the saving will be much less.


Overall Newport council will now contribute £589,650 per year to SenCom’s budget, which is funded by the five Gwent councils.

A spokesman for Torfaen council said all five Gwent authorities will contribute two per cent less in the year ahead.

The spokesman said: “In line with the existing agreement across partners to deliver efficiencies and consistent with the authorities wider savings requirements, the SenCom service budget is reducing by two per cent in 19/20.

“All partners will therefore see a reduction in costs of service of two per cent in 19/20 on previous contributions.

“The allocation of costs of service across partners continues to be based on pupil numbers.

“In line with this, Newport’s contribution is reducing by two per cent in 19/20 to £589,650, down from £601,684 in 18/19.”

Newport council was contacted to clarify the costs.