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Agenda Item No.

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 9TH FEBRUARY 2015

 

REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH): 5TH JANUARY 2015

 

“746 REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2014 TO 30TH NOVEMBER 2014 (DSS) –

 

The Operational Manager, Accountancy, presented the report, the purpose of which was to update Members of the position in respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April to 30th November 2014.  Members were advised that the current year end forecast for the Social Services budget was an overspend of £400,000.  A table and graph setting out the variance between profiled budget and actual expenditure to date and the projected position at year end were attached at Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

Children and Young People Services – this service was currently anticipated to outturn £400,000 under budget at year end.  The major issue concerning this service continued to be the pressure on the children’s placements budget.  However, it was currently projected that the Joint Budget for Residential Placements for Looked After Children could outturn with a £100,000 underspend at year end.  Work had been ongoing to ensure that children were placed in the most appropriate and cost effective placements, however, it should be noted that due to the high cost of such placements, the outturn  position could fluctuate.  There were potential underspends elsewhere in Children's Services relating to team budgets of £52,000, £54,000 relating to administrative staff, £50,000 on legal expenses, £60,000 due to additional adoption income and £84,000 on alternative means of provision and accommodation costs required for the current cohort of children.

 

Adult Services – this service was currently anticipated to outturn £800,000 over budget at year end.  This was due to a projected overspend on Community Care Packages of £1.0m as a result of increased demand for services, particularly for frail older clients.  The service would strive to manage demand, not only to avoid a further increase in the overspend, but also to reduce the overspend.  Whilst every effort would be made to improve this position, it could not be guaranteed that this position would not deteriorate further by year end as this budget was extremely volatile and the impact of winter pressures would need to be assessed.  The annual deferred income budget for 2014/15 had been set at £725,000 and at 30th November 2014 income received to date was £24,000 under-recovered.  The year-end projection had been maintained at a £100,000 under-recovery.  This position was included as part of the projected overspend on the Community Care packages budget.  There were potential underspends elsewhere in Adult Services of around £200,000 which could be used to offset this position.  These areas were £114,000 on staffing, £19,000 on transport, £38,000 on premises and £29,000 on supplies and services.

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 30th November 2014.

 

Bryneithin Marketing and Disposal – it had been requested that the 2014/15 Capital Programme be increased by £22,000 to fund costs associated with marketing and disposal of the former Bryneithin Site.  This scheme would be funded via a contribution from Capital Receipts.

 

Woodlands Demolition – it had been requested that £2.5,000 be carried forward into the  2015/16 Capital Programme for the release of retention in line with the contract.

 

Castle Avenue External Structures Works – this budget would not be required for the Castle Avenue Scheme and it had therefore been requested that the budget of £1,000 be transferred to the Hen Goleg Boiler Replacement Scheme.

 

Flying Start Grants – a grant award of £25,000 had been approved by Welsh Government for outside works at Alexander Community Centre.    Despite best efforts it had not been possible to address all of the difficulties presented by the outdoor space and therefore only indoor space would be provided at the Centre.  As a result, Welsh Government had been asked to vire this sum to the Colcot Scheme, which would allow further work to be undertaken such as the provision of a canopy, basic equipment and an internal folding door.  This would now bring the budget for the Colcot element of the scheme to £315,000.

 

For all schemes where it was evident that the full year's budget would not be spent during the year, the relevant officers were required to provide an explanation for the shortfall and this would be taken to the earliest available Cabinet.

 

Appendix 3 to the report provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes.

 

On 5th March 2014, Council approved the savings targets for 2014/15 and the initial savings targets for 2015/16 and 2016/17. 

 

As part of the Medium Term Financial Plan, approved by Cabinet on 11th August 2014, it was agreed that the service remodelling savings, included in 2015/16 and 2016/17 would be re-phased and were now set as £320,000 in 2017/18, £320,000 in 2018/19 and £330,000 in 2019/20.

 

The Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £3.97m by the end of 2019/20.  The surplus shown was as a result of the foster carer recruitment project and could be used to mitigate any additional savings to be found in future years.

 

The following table shows the approved savings targets and the savings identified by year.  It includes the £293,000 identified in 2012/13 in excess of the saving target for that year.

 

Year

Savings

Required

£000

Savings

Identified

£000

In Year

Surplus/

(Shortfall)

£000

Cumulative

Surplus/

(Shortfall)

£000

Previously Identified Savings

 

293

293

293

2014/15

713

454

(259)

34

2015/16

1,125

1,201

76

110

2016/17

1,162

1,238

76

186

2017/18

320

320

0

186

2018/19

320

320

0

186

2019/20

330

330

0

186

TOTAL

3,970

4,156

 



Appendix 4 to the report detailed the latest progress for each savings project currently identified. 

 

The Chairman asked if officers could expand upon potential areas of underspend within Adult Services, the Committee was advised that an underspend of around £200,000 had been identified within Adult Services, the main element of this was in respect of staffing, for which the service was ahead of schedule compared to service budget plans. 

 

A Committee Member queried whether the service had seen significant winter pressures.  In response, the Head of Adult Service advised that it was too early to identify these from the budgetary position, but he confirmed that the Local Health Board had experienced significant pressures. 

 

In response to a query regarding a review of residential services, the Committee was advised that the RED RAG status had been applied due to the complexities of the review and the contractual arrangements with providers.  Outcomes of the review were still awaited and thus the level of savings anticipated could not be guaranteed. 

 

A Committee Member queried whether in-house or external consultants would be used to progress the Reshaping Services Strategy.  In reply Members were advised that the total savings identified within the Reshaping Services Strategy amounted to £970,000 over a three year period.  There was a broad umbrella of considerations such as closer integration and working with health, also more detailed service information would be available as the Reshaping Services Strategy developed. 

 

The Chairman queried as to what level of reduction would be apportioned to the Regional Collaborative Fund (RCF).  In response, the Operational Manager, Accountancy, advised that early indications had shown that funding for the RCF would reduce by 50% but no official confirmation had been received.  Further to this the Chairman queried whether there were any contingency plans in place.  In answer to this the Director of Social Services reiterated the point that no definitive answer had been received from the Welsh Government in respect of funding.  He further advised that the Council’s Leader had written to Welsh Government on behalf of all the key partners to highlight the issues from the reduction in funding.  He alluded to the possibility of additional funding being diverted from health to help fund some aspects supported by the RCF grant.  As a final point, the Director of Social Services advised that there would need to be a greater emphasis placed upon preventative services. 

 

A Committee Member, referring to the relatively low level of savings apportioned to this financial year compared to previous years, queried whether the service had achieved the right level of balance.  The Director of Social Services advised that it was fair to say that budget saving actions had been nominally apportioned to financial years but the service had been able to bring some savings from next year into the current financial year.  This would be an important part in the service being able to achieve a balanced budget but he acknowledged that there was a need to ensure that the right pace for savings was achieved in order to manage expectations. 

 

In response to a query regarding a reduction to the short breaks service, the Head of Children and Young People Services advised that the short break and respite service had received a lot of attention.  The service was closely looking at how service provision could continue, particularly for disabled children, and part of the savings plans have included changes to the start and finish times for overnight respite without impacting on the number of nights respite a service user receives.  Overall, however, it was too early to be definitive on what exactly the service would look like following the review. 

 

In clarification of plans in relation to local residential placements for Looked After Children, the Committee was advised that a three bed facility had recently opened in Barry and that there were plans for another residential facility to be opened in a more rural part of the Vale. 

 

Having considered the report, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1) T H A T the position with regard to the 2014/15 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 2014/15 revenue and capital monitoring relevant to this Committee.

 

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

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 5th January, 2015

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