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Agenda Item No.

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 23RD MARCH, 2015

 

REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH): 2ND FEBRUARY, 2015

 

“837 REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2014 TO 31 ST DECEMBER 2014 (MD) –

 

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 31st December 2014.

 

Revenue – the current end of year forecast for the Social Services budget was an overspend of £100,000.  A table and graph setting out the variance between the profiled budget and actual expenditure to date was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

Children and Young People’s Services – this service was currently anticipated to outturn £500,000 (3.5%) under the Children’s Services budget at year end.  The major issue concerning this service continued to be the pressure on the children’s placement 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 £86,000, £50,000 relating to administrative staff, £50,000 on legal expenses, £60,000 due to additional adoption income and £154,000 on alternative means of provision and accommodation costs required for the current cohort of children.

 

Adult Services – this service was currently anticipated to outturn £600,000 (1.6%) over the Adult Services budget at year end.  This was due to a projected overspend of £800,000 (3.4%) against the Community Care Packages budget.  This was as a result of increased demand for services, particularly for frail older clients.  While the overspend this year had reduced, pressure on the budget would continue into the next financial year as the full year effect of current packages would result in a predicted increase in expenditure of around £1m.  The service would strive to manage demand, which would be supported through the reorganisation of the Care Management Team and the implementation of changes as a result of the Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) and the Regional Care fund (RCF) schemes.  The annual deferred income budget for 2014/15 had been set at £725,000.  As at 31st December 2014 income received was on target, however, there were houses that would be sold subject to contract, but for which the anticipated income was not high and therefore the year end projection had been maintained at a £100,000 under-recovery.  This position was included as part of the underspends elsewhere within Adult Services of around £200,000 which could be used to offset this position.  These areas were £125,000 on staffing, £26,000 on transport, £29,000 on premises and £20,000 on supplies and services. 

 

The ICF grant was only available within the 2014/15 financial year, and a cost pressure had been submitted for consideration as part of the 2015/16 budget process to allow for a transitional period for schemes to be evaluated.  The RCF grant had been approved for 2015/16; however, the amount available was 46% less than previously indicated by the Welsh Government.  This funding covered five collaborative schemes across the Cardiff and Vale region.  Proposals for the revised allocation of funds to the schemes had been submitted to the Welsh Government for consideration.  The allocation of grant to the schemes had been based upon priorities and availability of other funding sources and therefore the reduction had not been consistently applied across all areas.  The remodelling adult social care and integration with health strand had been given more favourable treatment.

 

Capital – Attached at Appendix 2 to the report was financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st December 2014, while at Appendix 3 to the report was non-financial information on capital construction schemes. 

 

The report outlined that the Boiler Replacement work at Hen Goleg had increased by £14,000 due to leaks being identified during works on the site.  This additional spend would be funded from a revenue contribution to the scheme.  Also, the start date for works to the Clock Tower were dependent upon receipt of Listed Building Consent.  This application should be received by CADW during February, with a decision being anticipated within 12 weeks.  The works would therefore not start on site until the next financial year.  It was therefore requested that £98,000 be carried forward into 2015/16. 

 

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 which would be taken to the earliest available Cabinet meeting.

 

Social Services Budget Programme Update – On 5th March 2014, Council had approved 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 had been agreed that the service remodelling savings, included in 2015/16 and 2016/17 would be re-phased and were now set at £320,000 in 207/18, £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.  Total identified savings amounted to £4.156m which would show a surplus of £186,000.  This surplus was as a result of the Foster Carer Recruitment Project which could be used to mitigate any additional savings to be found in future years. 

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

320

320

0

186

TOTAL

3,970

4,156

 



Contained within Appendix 4 was further detail on the progress for each savings project.

 

A report presented to Cabinet on 26th January 2015 regarding the Council’s Reshaping Services Change Programme acknowledged that the Social Services Directorate already had two major initiatives underway, these being the Collaborative Working Programme and the Budget Programme.  These Programmes already contained projects which were progressing the opportunities identified as part of the Reshaping Services Programme and savings targets were already included within the Budget Programme.

 

The Social Services Directorate was committed to achieving a balanced budget.  The Corporate Budget Programme Board for Social Services 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 providing an update in regard to the Intermediate Care Fund (ICF), the Director of Social Services advised the Committee that despite his best efforts, the Welsh Government (WG) was unable to provide a definitive response around the plans for introducing the new Integrated Care grant.  He went on to advise that it was anticipated that most of the money would be apportioned to the NHS but that there may be a requirement for a pooled budget in order to progress some of the projects begun under the ICF grant money.  He informed Members that the service could provide a positive evaluation of the projects undertaken and that there was a good case for ensuring that these projects would continue. 

 

Further to this a Committee Member queried as to what effect changes to the ICF grant would have upon budgets.  In response the Director of Social Services advised that the timing of the announcement was very difficult for the Local Authority and it would have been better if this announcement had been made two or three months earlier.  He stated that there would be a need to make best use of the new Fund and RCF budgets in tandem and to look at what elements could be possibly funded through the RCF funding stream. 

 

A Committee Member asked if the Committee could be provided with some clarification of the Flying Start grant money approved by WG.  In response, the Head of Children and Young People Services advised that the grant would be used to fund three capital projects.  The first related to the setting up of a facility in Colcot, the second related to the Red Robins Project and was aimed at enhancing that facility and the third project was around improving the outside space at Cwm Talwg. 

 

In referring to the Flying Start facility at the Red Robin Nursery site, a Committee Member queried whether this would help ensure the future viability of the respite provision for disabled children, which was also located there.  In response, the Committee noted that the two were not connected.  The primary aim was to look at how best to use all physical assets and, although there were synergies, these were still separate services.

 

The Chairman queried whether any other plans for Flying Start capital projects were being drawn up and whether these could be devised more quickly.  The Director of Social Services commented that this was one of the burdens in having fixed term grants for capital projects.  It was difficult for the Service to devise plans around capital programmes when not enough detail was provided by WG when issuing capital grants, often at very short notice. 

 

In querying the future provision of respite care, the Committee was advised that some changes had been made to the start and finishing times for overnight respite stays. This had resulted in earlier pick up times, and thus a reduction in staffing hours, but had maintained the number of nights available.  The Committee also noted that the service was exploring possibilities around the use of the respite facility developed through the Penarth Learning Community. 

 

A Committee Member, referring to a report to the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) on options for increasing older persons’ accommodation, queried whether a similar report would be presented to this Scrutiny Committee.  In response, the Head of Business Management and Innovation informed the Committee that a similar report would be presented to the Scrutiny Committee, probably during the summer.  She further advised that an officer working group, of which she was the Chair, was looking at a number of options around older persons’ accommodation and was evaluating which were the most appropriate.  This project was supported by the Wales Co-operative Centre and a report would be presented to Cabinet in due course. 

 

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 Scrutiny 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): 2nd February, 2015

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