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 May, 2015.  In addition, the report also highlighted progress made in delivering the Social Services budget programme.

As it was very early in the financial year, the current forecast for Social Services was a balanced budget.  A table and graph setting out the variances between the profiled budget and actual expenditure to date and the projected position at year end was attached at Appendix 1.  

For Children and Young People’s Services it was currently anticipated that there would be a £300,000 underspend within the budget at year end.  The key issue for this service continued to be managing demand for the Joint Budget for Residential Placements for Looked After Children, however, it was forecast to outturn with a £100,000 underspend by the end of the year.  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 very early in the financial year and that due to the potential high costs of each placement the outturn position could fluctuate with a change in the number of children looked after.  There were also potential underspends within Children’s Services of £65,000 on staffing and £135,000 on alternative means of provision and accommodation costs required for the current cohort of children.

In respect of Adult Services it 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.  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 and 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 £715,000 and as at 31st May, 2015 income received to date was £57,000 as an over-recovery.  The year end projection for this was to break even against budget.  

In terms of capital expenditure, Appendix 2 detailed financial progress on the capital programme as at 31st May, 2015.  The report outlined that in respect of the Hen Goleg works, a request had been made to amalgamate the following schemes in order to enable a more co-ordinated approach to procuring a delivery of a number of related schemes at Hen Goleg.  The total budget for the amalgamated scheme would be £246,000 which was broken down as follows:

  • Hen Goleg Damp Proofing - £97,000
  • Hen Goleg Car Park redesign - £46,000
  • Hen Goleg Clock Tower £103,000.

Appendix 3 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, relevant officers were required to provide an explanation for the shortfall which would be taken to the earliest available Cabinet meeting.  

2015/2016 Budget Programme

The Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £3.568m by the end of 2019/20.  A year by year analysis of this target was shown in the following table.  At present there was a surplus of £186,000 which was 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.

 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     

Appendix 4 provided an update on the individual areas of savings.

A Committee Member queried the impact on the budget as a result of pressures and demands usually seen at this time of the year.  In response, the Head of Adult Services stated that it was too early to predict.  He also stated that during 2014/15, the situation had been helped by a number of grant funded schemes and he assured Members that mechanisms were in place in order to identify any rise in demand.

In terms of the Reshaping Services Programme, a Committee Member queried as to what impact this was likely to have on the contract arrangements for domiciliary care.  The Head of Business Management and Innovation advised Members that the service was looking at a number of ways that savings within domiciliary care could be achieved.  Particular attention had been placed around the cost pressures of the service and the way that services would be commissioned.  One particular option was around the use of the third sector and Members noted that third sector organisations were very interested and keen to work in partnership with the Council in a number of areas.  Members were advised that other local authorities had used block contracts, which in some instances, presented an inherent difficulty and that the approach used by the Council around spot contracts was more flexible.  

At this point the Director of Social Services stated that in relation to domiciliary care there were concerns in terms of possible increase in demand and also a reduction in resources.  This would be in addition to increased costs such as the implementation of the National Minimum Wage / Living Wage which was likely to affect this service area more than others.  He went on to advise that the service had been reluctant to change quickly how services were commissioned and that savings in this area had been delayed.  However, this would need to be tackled and the Council would need to look at savings within this area in more detail.

With reference to the Flying Start projects, Members were advised that authorisation to continue the work had been required from the Welsh Government which had now been received.  Welsh Government understood that issues affecting this programme were outside the control of the Council.

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 progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be noted and be referred to Cabinet for information.

Reasons for recommendations

(1)    To ensure Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2015/16 Revenue and Capital Monitoring relevant to this Scrutiny Committee.

(2)    T H A T 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): 13th July, 2015