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Agenda Item No. 4









The Operational Manager – Accountancy presented the report, the purpose of which was to advise the Scrutiny Committee of the position in respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April to 31st August, 2017.


The current forecast for Social Services at year end was a potential overspend of around £1m due to pressure on the Community Care budget.  A table and graph setting out the variance between the profiled budget and actual expenditure to date and the projected position at year end was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.


In respect of Children and Young People Services, the major issue concerning this service was he pressure on the Children’s Placement budget which was due to the complexities of the children currently being supported.  It was advised that work continued to ensure that children were placed in the most appropriate and cost effective placements.  However, it was noted 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 and / or the complexity of need. 


For Adult Services, the major issue concerning this service was the continuing pressure relating to the Community Care Packages budget.  It was currently projected that there could be an overspend this year of around £1m.  This budget was extremely volatile and was under pressure from significant demographic growth, an increase in the complexity of cases, as well as pressure from care providers to increase fees as a result of the National Living Wage. 


Additional funding had recently been announced by Welsh Government for the Social Care Workforce Grant which totalled £30m across Wales and had provided an additional funding of £704k to the Council.  This funding had been used to increase the fees paid to domiciliary care providers above the 1% provided within the budget.  This additional money from Welsh Government was not sufficient to fund any growth either in number or size of care packages. 


The Community Care Packages budget would also need to achieve savings of £200k this year.  Further saving initiatives would be considered which may be funded via regional grants.  Welsh Government had continued to provide Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) grant to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to allow collaborative working between Health and Cardiff and the Vale Councils.  However, the level of grant funding was not guaranteed on an ongoing basis.


It was proposed that up to £1m be used this year from the Social Services Legislative Changes fund to cover this shortfall.


In terms of Leisure Services, there was currently an adverse variance to the profiled budget.  The main reason was due to high costs for vehicles during the start of the Grounds Maintenance season.  It was anticipated that this would reduce over the winter months and therefore it was currently projected that the overall budget would outturn on target.  Attached at Appendix 2 to the report was a summary of savings to be monitored by this Committee during 2017/18.  There were currently no specific savings targets allocated to Leisure Services. 


A saving of £320k had been approved for Social Services for the year, however, the way in which this was to be achieved had not be confirmed.


With regard to the Social Services savings targets which related to the Care Package budget reductions, schemes had been put in place to deliver savings in this area by transferring domiciliary care clients to direct payments and by establishing a review team and therefore the saving is projected to be achieved in full.


Appendix 3 to the report provided further details of the savings within the Social Services Budget Programme. 


In terms of capital expenditure, Appendix 4 to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st August, 2017. 


For the Internal refurbishment of Residential Homes, it had been requested that the £10k budget be amalgamated with the £28k budget for the Residential Homes Refurbishment scheme to enable a more co-ordinated approach to the delivery of works.


For Parks and Ground Maintenance Asset Renewal, Section 106 monies of £9k were available to contribute towards the cost of the installation of play equipment at Tre-Beferad and it had been requested that the budget for this scheme be increased accordingly.  £50k had been allocated within this budget for the installation and upgrading on new play areas.  Quotations for this work had been returned and were less than originally anticipated.  This had allowed £4k to be vired from this budget to the Barry Regeneration Partnership, in order to fund a shortfall on the Fforest Community Park scheme due to additional ground works and £14k had been vired to the Romilly Mess Room scheme. 


In relation the Social Services reserve for legislative changes, the Operational Manager – Accountancy advised the Committee that this currently had a balance just short of £3m.  In previous years, where Social Services had also been projecting an overspend, money had been set aside because any legislative changes would usually come into force very quickly.  This meant that the Council had very little time to respond.  The Operational Manager confirmed that at present this sum was not committed and could only be used once, on a short term basis.  The Operational Manager further advised that the Directorate would have to find savings on an ongoing basis.


A Committee Member commented that budget reductions would only go so far and at some point additional funding would need to be found.  In reply, the Operational Manager stated, each year the Council would look at how services were funded and that budget setting would be considered by the Committee during December.


In referring to Appendix 4 to the report and the retention of charges for Capital Programmes, the Operational Manager – Accountancy advised that in regard to contracts for work, the Council would hold 2% of the total in case any defects were identified.  This money would only be paid when the Council was satisfied with the work.


The Chairman, in referring to the £1m overspend on Community Care Packages, queried whether there were any budget areas that could offset the overspend.  In reply, the Director of Social Services stated that this had already been offset by budget saving.  The Director added that small changes now could have a significant impact later on in the year and so it was difficult to predict.  It was difficult to find additional funding.  He also stated that over previous years, the Directorate had achieved large savings.  It was however becoming increasingly difficult to find savings because of increased demographic challenges and a growth in the number of Looked After Children.  He advised that a budget programme was in place and the Council had the people and mechanisms in order to meet the challenges. 




(1)       T H A T position with regard to the 2017/18 revenue and capital monitoring be noted.


(2)       T H A T the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget programme be noted.


(3)       T H A T the revenue and capital monitoring report for the period 1st April to 31st August, 2017 in relation to Social Services and Leisure Services be referred to the Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee for their consideration.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       Having regard to the 2017/18 revenue and capital monitoring relevant to the Scrutiny Committee.


(2)       In order that Members are aware of the progress made to date on the Social Services Budget Programme.


(3)       On request from the Corporate Resources and Performance Scrutiny Committee.”




Attached as Appendix – Report to Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 9th October, 2017