Agenda Item No.












Committee received a report which advised of the position in respect of revenue and capital monitoring for the period 1st April to 31st December 2013 regarding those revenue and capital budgets which formed this Committee’s remit.  The Committee also received an update on the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme.


It was currently projected that the service would outturn within target at the end of the financial year.


Children and Young People’s Services – the major issue was the need to manage continued pressure on the children’s placements budget.  The current projected outturn for the jointly funded Residential Placements budget for Looked After Children was an overspend of £530k.  Any overspend at year end would be funded in proportion to the original contributions made to the joint budget i.e. £477k (90%) Social Services and £53k (10%) Education.  In addition to the joint budget, a high cost placement provision of £1.46m had been established as part of the budget setting process for 2013/14.  To date, £223k of the provision had been committed which was in addition to expenditure incurred within the joint budget.  There were potential underspends elsewhere in the Children’s Services of around £226k which could be used to offset this position.  The increase in expenditure on the joint residential budget had resulted in a reduction in expenditure of £71k on alternative means of provisions and accommodation costs required for the current cohort of children.  In addition, other areas of underspend were £50k on the legal expenses budget, £85k additional adoption income and £20k on administrative staff.  The Business Management and Innovation division was anticipated to underspend and any variance be apportioned to the service areas.  Therefore, £34k of the underspend would be allocated to Children’s Services.  It was currently anticipated that there would be a £217k overspend.


Adult Services – the major issues was the continuing pressure on Community Care Packages, the Divisions’ most volatile budget the one most dependent upon levels of service demand which were not entirely within the Council’s direct control.  At present, the projected year end position was an overspend of £685k.  Actions therefore still needed to be taken to review all processes and to address this shortfall.  There were potential underspend elsewhere in Adult Services of around £525k which could be used to offset this position.  These areas were £230k following the closure of Bryneithin, £254k on staffing and £41k on Premises.  With the levels of savings required for 2014/15 and 2015/16, budgets were being re-examined during 2013/14 with a view to their possible realignment as part of the consideration of new models of service delivery.  Future savings were planned for these areas and some positions and premises costs were lower than expected as a result of the commencement of some of these plans ahead of schedule.  The Business Management and Innovation division was anticipated to underspend and any variances be apportioned to the service area.  Therefore £84k of the underspend would be allocated to Adult Services.  This would result in a currently anticipated overspend of £76k. 


Business Management and Innovation – the majority of this budget was recharged to Children’s and Adult Services and was, therefore, showing a breakeven position at year end.  The position before recharges to services was an underspend of £118k.  This was made up of an underspend on staffing, mainly due to staff vacancies which were held prior to the introduction of the new staffing structure in the Protection and Policy section.  The underspend meant that there had been a reduced internal recharge to Children’s and Adult Services of £118k. 


Areas of savings had been identified this year which were £293k over the required target.  This could be used to offset the overspends identified above and a balanced budget was currently projected for the year end.  A major issue which would affect the service between now and the end of the financial year was the impact of winter pressures.  This could not be quantified but would be closely monitored and reported to future meetings.


Appendix 2 to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st December 2013. 


With regard to the Social Services Budget Programme Update, the Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £6.0m by the end of 2016/17.  Savings totalling £6.189m had currently been identified.  The surplus would be used to mitigate any additional savings to be found in future years.


The Social Services Directorate was committed to achieving a balanced budget.  The Corporate programme Board and project teams overseeing the plan would continue to develop it further and ensure delivery and progress.  Progress updates would be reported as part of the overall financial monitoring report for the Directorate.


In view of the comments regarding the possible impact of winter pressures, the Chairman enquired if the winter pressures had started to impact on the service.


Committee were advised that it was difficult to predict, but hospital admissions had escalated in the past fortnight.  The Directorate’s spare capacity was being utilised and it was possible the Directorate would experience a difficult few weeks.  Whilst the Directorate built in certain contingencies, the Directorate had also improved its response times and increased the number of care hours available. 


The Directorate was regularly reporting to the Welsh Government on how it was coping with the pressures but had not reached the stage where it was not possible to meet demand.


Furthermore, there were fewer cases of Delayed Transfer of Care outstanding at present.


A Member, in referring to the underspend on staffing resources in Adult Services enquired if the Council was operating “under safe guidelines†and was advised that the situation was under control.  Vacancies could be for a number of reasons such as delays in filling posts.  Whilst the figure contained in the report seemed large, it was part of a very large budget. 


The Chairman referred to the overspends in the Looked After Children budget and was advised that the Foster Carer Strategy was to reduce the use of Independent Fostering Agencies and to reduce the number of residential placements. 


There was an approved annual saving of £150k for the next three years for LAC Residential Placements. 




(1)       T H A T the position with regard to the 2013/14 revenue and capital monitoring be noted.


(2)       T H A T the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be noted and referred to Cabinet for information.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       That Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2013/14 revenue and capital monitoring relevant to this Scrutiny Committee.


(2)       That Members are aware of the progress made to date on the Social Services Budget Programme.â€





Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 10th February, 2014