The Audit Commission has found that Stirling Council saved more than £1.4 million over a two-year period through working in partnership with includem in a report published in 2019.

The Council appointed includem in 2017 to work on a project using early intervention and prevention techniques to improve the lives and reduce the number of care-experienced children and young people in residential and external foster care.

‘Although this report dates from 2019 its findings have never been more relevant as budgets continue to be squeezed,’ said includem’s chief executive, Martin Dorchester.

‘In the current economic environment, we are able to show the benefits of includem’s support to our partners and the real time savings they will make.’

Audit Scotland found that over a two-year project, includem supported 33 children and young people to remain at home with their families rather than into foster or council care with the project saving the local authority £1.4 million.

Audit Scotland said: ‘Equally important, the project is helping children and young people to build support networks, allowing them to play a full and meaningful role in their communities. This in turn could contribute to savings in other service areas, such as those related to homelessness and the adult justice system.’

Eighty per cent of children and young people moved on from includem’s support having achieved their goals set when they first engaged with the service.

Martin added: ‘Whether we are working on long term contracts, projects or simply supporting individuals at risk, our outcomes are positive and the savings to our partners very real.’