Pressure on special educational needs and disability services in the borough is set to worsen.

A report presented to Redbridge Council’s People Scrutiny Committee before their meeting this week has warned the authority against complacency.

The report said that, while the council is currently in a strong position both financially and in terms of meeting demand for services, rising populations and increasingly complex needs are set to put pressure on services in the future.

An independent review was commissioned and completed earlier this year based on consultation with head teachers and families, who the report said would welcome an expansion of specialist facilities in the borough.

The report said: “There is little room for complacency as pressures are emerging which will require changes to the status quo.

“There will need to be decisions made about priorities for expenditure going forward.”

Reasons for the warning included the changing demographic profile of the borough, with higher levels of socio-economic deprivation emerging in some wards, and the increasing number of children presenting with challenging behaviour in Redbridge.

The report went on to say: “This changing profile impacts on the way in which schools need to be resourced and supported to meet special educational needs.”

Since 2016, the cost and the allocated budget of the borough’s SEND provision has increased.

The number of placements at independent special schools increased from 16 in 2016-17, at a cost o £705,000, to 28 placements in 2017-18, at a cost of £1,391,000.

The report also stated that there has been a marked increase in the number of “out of borough” placements for certain services; with the council sending individuals on longer journeys to get access to the facilities they need as they cannot be provided within the borough.

An investigation into the borough’s provision for hearing impairment also found that specialist services in this areas are currently “over stretched.”

Authors of the report set out 48 recommendations for Redbridge Council to consider and a spokesman for the authority said it plans to adopt all of these into its own policy.

Recommendations included establishing a free school with 64 places to provide targeted support for those with special educational needs, setting aside a budget for hoists and disability access facilities that schools can bid for and improving data management processes to ensure up-to-date and accurate information is held on need levels at all times.

Redbridge Council was contacted for comment.