Agenda Item No.










The initial Revenue Budget Proposals for 2012/13 were considered in conjunction with the reference from Cabinet that had been referred to the Committee for consultation. It was noted that the projected overspend position with regard to Children’s Services was £1.3m. with an analysis of the position being reported as follows:


Area Of Spend



Children’s Placement


An increased number of high cost placements

Foster Carers


Increased payments to Foster Carers due to the introduction, by the Welsh Government, of the National Minimum Allowance for Foster Carers, which came into force from April 2011




Use of Provisions







The overspend could be offset by a Children’s Services provision of £210,000 resulting in £1.1m. of savings to be found within the Service in the current financial year. 


With regard to Adult Services the year end projected outturn was for an overspend of £2.4m. and an analysis of this position was provided as detailed below:


Area Of Spend



Care Home Fees


An increase in fees required to pay Care Homes over and above the 2% inflation already included in the budget

2011/12 Savings


Savings identified for the year but not being achieved

Community Care Packages


Made up of both an increase in demand and as a result of the introduction of the Welsh Government First Steps Improvement Package Initiative which introduced a £50 charge cap per week for domiciliary services.

Underspends within Adult Services budget


largely due to staff vacancies




Use of Provisions







The overspend could be offset by an Adult Services provision of £465,000 resulting in £1.9m. savings to be found by the Service during the current financial year. 


With regard to the service strategy budget, this was projected to outturn on budget by the year end.


Overall the year end projected outturn for Social Services was for a projected overspend of £3.7m. in the current financial year.  There were however provisions available to offset this position to the value of £675,000 thus resulting in a net overspend of £3m.   It was noted that remedial measures would need to be undertaken in order to reduce this deficit.  It was also noted that the Council’s budget was determined largely by the revenue support grant with a final settlement likely to be received in December 2011 / January 2012.  The Council was required under statute to fix the level of Council Tax for 2012/13 by 11th March 2012 and in order to do so would have to agree a balanced revenue budget by the same date.   The Council would also receive a sum provisionally set at £1.253m. via the Outcome Agreement Grant but the Council was not guaranteed to receive the full amount of the Improvement Agreement Grant and the portion of the Grant that would eventually be received in 2012/13 would be determined by a rating score of the Council’s performance in achieving its 2011/12 Outcome Agreement targets.  A summary of the overall base budget 2012/13 was attached at Appendix 2 to the report which had been arrived at by adjusting the 2011/12 budget for items such as inflation and unavoidable growth.  A list of 2012/13 cost pressures as identified by the service was attached at Appendix 3 but these were not shown in any order of priority and Appendix 4 detailed the proposed 2014/15 savings, it being noted that more detail was required on the savings and their impact which would be considered as part of the budget review following the elections in May 2012. 


Members were concerned that the report did not provide detailed enough figures in relation to the cost pressures and that the Cabinet should be informed in detail of the cost pressures facing the department. Members considered it essential for the Cabinet and all Members of the Council to have more detail of the financial implications as opposed to “guesstimates” and some Members also felt that the pressures would be far more severe than stated at this stage.  The Head of Children’s Services added that there was a need to consider further joint funding initiatives and that it was difficult to confirm at the present time the exact service costs.  Councillor Egan stated that the Scrutiny Committee should raise these concerns with the Cabinet with consideration being given to increasing Council Tax revenue to assist with the commitments.  The Director advised that some cost pressures may translate into commitments in the coming year and that the Department would endeavour to monitor the spend and consider initiatives to reduce the deficit and the overspend.  Members highlighted that as Social Services is 'demand led' unexpected costs such as the 3 child placements amounting to approximately £750,000 p/a, can place significant additional pressures on the Directorate's finances.


It being evident that the budget would not be sustainable in light of the factors facing the Social Services Directorate as detailed above it was suggested that the concerns raised by the Scrutiny Committee should be forwarded to Corporate Resources and Cabinet with the importance of protecting and safe guarding social services in the Vale being emphasised in view of the volatile budgets and the reasons behind this.


Having considered the report it was




(1)       T H A T the above views of the Scrutiny Committee be forwarded to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) and the Cabinet.


(2)       T H A T the amended budget as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be noted.


(3)       T H A T the Director of Social Services takes the necessary action possible to bring expenditure in line with the Vale’s budget.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To forward comments to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) and Cabinet.


(2)       To facilitate monitoring of the budget.


(3)       In order to bring Social Services expenditure in line with the base budget.”