The purpose of the report was to advise the Scrutiny Committee of the position in respect of the revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April to 31st July 2015.  In addition, the report also highlighted progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme.  

The current forecast for Social Services was a balanced budget.  In addition to increased demand for services, there was pressure on the Directorate to achieve its savings targets for 2015/16 onwards.  

A table and graph setting out the variance between the profiled budget and actual expenditure to date and the projected position at year end were attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

In terms of Children and Young People Services, it was still anticipated to outturn £300,000 under budget at year end.  The key issue for this service continued to be managing the demand for the Joint Budget for Residential Placements for Looked After Children, but, currently it was forecast to 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 was noted that it was still early in the financial year and that due to the potential high cost of each placement, the outturn position could fluctuate with a change in the number of Looked After Children.  There were potential underspend elsewhere in Children’s Services of £65,000 in staffing budgets and £135,000 on alternative means of provision and accommodation costs required for the current cohort of children.

For Adult Services, this service was currently anticipated to outturn £300,000 over budget at year end.  This was due to a projected overspend on Community Care Packages of £300,000 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 guarantee that it would not deteriorate further by year end as this budget was extremely volatile and there was a continued increase in demand for services.  The annual deferred income budget for 2015/16 had been set at £739,000 and as at 31st July 2015 income received to date was £18,000 under-recovered.  As it was early in the financial year, the year end project was to breakeven against this budget.


Appendix 2 to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st July 2015.  No changes had been requested to the Programme for this month.

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

2015/16 Budget Programme

The Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £3.568m by the end of 2019/20 and this target was analysed by year in the following table.


Year Savings Required
Savings Identified
In Year Surplus/ (Shortfall)
Cumulative Surplus/   (Shortfall)
Savings Brought Forward    34  34  34
 2015/16  1,465  1,541  76  110
 2016/17  1,133  1,209  76  186
 2017/18  320  320  0  186
 2018/19  320  320  0  186
 2019/20  330  330  0  186
 TOTAL  3,568  3,754    


The surplus shown and the savings brought forward figures were as a result of the foster carer recruitment project, which was being developed in addition to the required savings targets.  This surplus could be used to mitigate any increase in savings to be found in future years.

Attached at Appendix 4 to the report was an update on each individual area of saving.  

With regard to the development of the former Bryneithin site, the Head of Adult Services stated that the site had been sold subject to planning permission.  Members were advised that the land had been earmarked for the use of people over the age of 50 and following a request by the Chairman, the Committee agreed that an update report would be provided at the next meeting.  

A Committee Member in referring to Appendix 4 and project reference B9 - The Contract Arrangements for Domiciliary Care - questioned whether there were any intentions for an on-line auction system to be used.  In response, the Director of Social Services stated that no, this had never been discussed.  

The Chairman, in referring to the £270,000 savings target for domiciliary care services which was required in 2016/17 queried whether this was achievable particularly with regard to the fact that over 95% of the care sector was provided by independent providers to which costs would be incurred following the national implementation of the Living Wage.  In response, the Head of Finance stated that it had been recognised that this was a challenging target for the service to hit.  However, she stated that the Commissioning Strategy of the service was fairly robust and was considering a number of options.  Furthermore, the service had correctly recognised the problems associated with block contracts.  In addition to this point, the Director of Social Services alluded to the integration of services with health and the possibility of health investing in some social services, particularly those which aided the discharge of patients from hospitals.

A Committee Member queried the progress around the establishment of two working groups, which were aimed at taking forward the work which focussed on outcome based commissioning and the understanding of pressures in the domiciliary care sector.  In response, the Head of Finance stated that the first Working Group focussed around outcome based commissioning started last year and it would link in with implementation of the new Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014.  The aim of this Working Group would be to change the working arrangements and relationships within the sector in order to focus the service on becoming more outcome based.  The second group was looking at the costs associated with domiciliary care providers.  Members were advised that both were internal Working Groups and that the Head of Finance felt reasonable progress had been made.

In response to a Member’s query regarding the detail contained within project reference A23 regarding Reshaping Services, the Head of Adult Services stated that the savings target was rather broad and that it was still very much early on in the process and that it was important to have a target to focus the work of the service.  

The Committee requested further detail about the predicted overspend to the Older People’s Budget.  The Head of Finance agreed that this would be followed up and information sent to Members accordingly.

Having considered the report the Committee


(1)    T H A T the position with regard to the 2015/16 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)    To ensure that Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2015/16 revenue and capital monitoring relevant to the 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): 8th September, 2015