Increased spending on children's services is the most significant single contributor towards a £205m overspend by councils, a survey has revealed.

The joint Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Social Services survey shows about 64 per cent of the rise was due to councils driving up standards in social services. A further 21 per cent of the overspend was on services for older people.

By the end of March, 85 per cent of the 146 English local authorities with social services responsibilities who responded to the survey expect to have overspent their budget by just over 2 per cent, an average of£2m in each authority.

The ADSS said the results back social services directors' fears that pressures on resources for childcare are mounting 'inexorably'. It points to a 'fourfold' rise in the number of children looked after.

The association is supporting the LGA's decision to ask the government for increased resources.