Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 2ND DECEMBER, 2013
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH): 7TH NOVEMBER, 2013
570 THE FINANCIAL POSITION IN ADULT SERVICES (DSS) –
Committee received a report which:
- brought to the attention of the Committee the current position in Adult Services regarding revenue expenditure
- provided an analysis of pressures on budget for Adult Services
- provided an update on the actions being taken to mitigate anticipated overspends, in part through delivery of the Social Services Budget Programme.
Committee were advised that resource management in Adult Social Care was inherently problematic for the following reasons:
· Potential demand for most social care services would often exceed supply and so the Council was always involved with establishing eligibility
· Like all local authorities in Wales, the Council was heavily dependent on funding from the Welsh Government. The formula used to allocate this funding was especially problematic for the Vale of Glamorgan in that Social Services here received substantially less money for spending on social services than local authorities similar in size. The outcome was that the Council’s average spend per head of population was relatively low
· Decisions which affected the type and cost of services being provided were often outside the Council’s control and may be unpredictable
· Some individual services were very expensive. Even with the appropriate monitoring and efficiency measures and controls operating well, packages of care for adults with especially complex needs could exceed £100,000 per year
· Financial decisions had to follow the changing needs of individual users
· Market pressures meant that Councils could face escalating costs when purchasing services from independent providers
· Whilst some services were low volume and high cost, others such as the provision of home care and some residential care services were notable for their high turnover and volatility, brought about by changes in circumstances such as admission to hospital
· Expenditure incurred during one year may lock the Council into financial commitments on behalf of individual service users for many years to come. For example, a package of care commissioned for someone who had just turned 18 may still be required into old age
· To balance the competing priorities of managing service demand, improving quality, meeting higher expectations and reducing expenditure was especially difficult in situations where safeguarding people from significant harm had to be a key factor in decision making.
Given this challenging context, it was essential that the Council had in place a coherent strategy for securing financial stability within the resources available. On 30th July 2012, Cabinet had endorsed the Social Services Budget Programme. Since that time, the Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee had received monthly progress updates on the way in which the programme had been implemented.
In respect of the overall budget programme, the Social Services Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £6.0m. by the end of 2016/17. Savings totalling £6.189m. had been identified. The surplus would be used to mitigate any additional savings to be found in future years.
The current forecast for Social Services was an overspend at year end 2013/14 of £876k. This was after deducting savings of £2.04m. which had been identified for the year.
In Adult Services, the major issue was the continuing pressure on Community Care Packages. This was the Division’s most volatile budget and the one most dependent on levels of service demand which were not within the Council’s direct control. At present, the projected year end position for this budget was an overspend of £1.635m., following the reduction in budget to accommodate the savings target for the year of £685k. There were potential underspends elsewhere in Adult Services of around £466k. which could be used to offset this position. The overall projected overspend for the Division at year end was £1,169k.
The level of additional funding identified by the Welsh Government for the First Steps Initiative (which resulted in the introduction of the £50 cap for non-residential services) had been announced at £646k. for the current year. This would reduce the overall overspend.
The allocation of additional funding for the next and subsequent years had not yet been determined but Committee were advised that they would receive a further report when a definitive decision on this matter had been made by the Welsh Government.
Committee were advised that a report on the budget proposals would be brought before Cabinet later in November which would refer to the ongoing pressures on the Social Services Budget. In turn, the report would be brought before this Committee.
Members enquired if any reductions in the Directorate’s budget would affect the Council’s statutory duties.
(1) T H A T the current position with regard to the 2013/14 revenue budget be noted.
(2) T H A T the progress made in managing increased demand and delivering measures to control expenditure be noted.
(3) T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for information.
(4) T H A T Cabinet be requested to make absolutely sure that future budgets take into account the fact that, due to ever increasing demand, there should be no further reductions to the Social Services Budget in view of the fact that any further significant reductions in resources were likely to mean that statutory requirements may not be met.
(5) T H A T the grant of £646,000 from the Welsh Government in 2013/14 be welcomed albeit that this did not cover the full costs to the Council incurred through implementing the First Steps Improvement Initiative. Cabinet were requested to make further representations to the Welsh Government Ministers for full compensation of the Scheme’s cost.
(6) T H A T the creation of the Intermediate Care Fund in the 2014/15 draft Welsh Government Budget to promote collaboration between Local Health Boards and local authorities be welcomed and that the Council’s own application development process commences as soon as practicable in order to make best use of this funding opportunity.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) That Members are aware of the current position with regard to the 2013/14 revenue budget and the actions being taken to bring expenditure within the budget set for the Adult Services Division.
(2&3) That Members are able to exercise effective oversight of the way in which the budget was being managed.
(4) To advise Cabinet of the view of this Committee.
(5) To seek full compensation for the costs of the First Steps Initiative.
(6) To make best use of this funding opportunity.
Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 7th November, 2013