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 30th November 2015.


The report outlined that the current forecast for Social Services at year end was an overspend of £300,000. A table and graph setting out the variance between 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's Services, this service was anticipated to outturn £450,000 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, however, currently it was forecast to outturn with a £250,000 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 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 underspends elsewhere in 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.


For Adult Services, the service was currently anticipated to outturn £750,000 over budget at year end which remained at the same level as projected last month. This overspend was due to a projected overspend on Community Care Packages of £950,000 as a result of continuing demand for services, particularly for frail older clients. The report outlined that 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 as this budget was extremely volatile and there was a continued demand for services, which may increase over the winter months. The annual deferred income budget for 2015/16 had been set at £739,000 and as at 30th November, 2015, income received to date was £112,000 under-recovered. It was currently projected that this budget would outturn at £100,000 over budget by year end and this adverse variance was included as part of the projected overspend for care packages. It was anticipated that there would be underspends of £200,000 elsewhere in the budget which could be offset as part of this overspend with £165,000 from staffing, £20,000 from Transport and £15,000 from Premises.


With regard to the capital expenditure, Appendix 2 to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 30th November, 2015. The report advised that for the Flying Start Grant, Emergency Powers had been used to approve the inclusion into the 2015/16 Capital Programme of a £9,500 grant from Welsh Government for works at the Flying Start Butterflies Playgroup. The work would consist of significant refurbishment to the toilets and food preparations areas.


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


In relation to the 2015/16 Budget Programme, the Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £3.568m by the end of 2019/20. At present, the Budget Programme showed a surplus of £186,000 which was as a result of the foster carer recruitment project. Appendix 4 to the report provided an update on the individual areas of saving.


The Chairman queried if winter pressures had affected services. In response, the Head of Adult Services stated that this was a mixed picture and that local hospitals were not doing too badly. He advised that additional staff had been recruited to the Community Resource Service to help with the discharge of people from hospital, but the Service had needed to clarify with Health colleagues to ensure that the referral process was being used correctly.


A Committee Member, referring to saving target A3 around a reduction in the Care Packages budget, enquired whether the Service would look to reduce the costs of undertaking assessments. The Head of Adult Services explained that this saving target related to the total cost of care that included Domiciliary, Day and Residential Care and he stated that the service had been able to achieve savings by streamlining processes. The total saving of £125,000 was aligned to help Learning Disability and Mental Health clients to live more independently. Going forward into 2016/17, the Service would be looking at the greater use of Direct Payments and the use of Reablement Services along with a review of the commissioning of Day Services.


In referring to saving targets within Business Management and Innovation, the Committee was advised that further information on B6, which was around savings against the carer support services, would be circulated to Members via email. In addition, referring to saving target B9 around Contract Arrangements for Domiciliary Care, a Committee Member asked, if in the area of procurement of services, whether the Directorate was working with any neighbouring Local Authorities. In reply, the Director of Social Services commented that the Vale of Glamorgan Council was one of the most efficient commissioners of care services in the region. He stated that there were advantages of entering into larger scale contracts but there were also advantages of maintaining a wide and broad range of service providers.


The Director stated that the Council's strategy for procuring services was to maintain a diverse market that helped providers to stay in business and that the Service would be looking at joint commissioning of services with the Health Board. He also briefly alluded to the joint procurement of Learning Disability and Mental Health placements through the South East Wales Improvement Collaborative and also to the joint working of the Children's Commissioning Consortium Cymru (4Cs) for the regional commissioning of children's placements.


Furthermore, the Committee also heard that the status of this target (B9) was red, as this was a challenging area for which progress of the working groups had been affected by things such as the introduction of the new national living wage. The Service was looking at developments in other Local Authority areas and the Committee was advised that progress would be reported at a later meeting.


A Committee Member commented that he had noted that the status of saving target A6 (Residential Services) had changed from red to amber and he queried how this saving target would be progressed. In reply, the Head of Adult Services explained that this would be managed as a specific Reshaping Services project and would be linked to a review of the broad range of accommodation with care available for older people.


In answer to a Member's question as to whether budgetary underspends were down to less demand for services, the Committee was advised that most underspends related to savings generated around staffing costs.


As a final query, a Committee Member commented that he had recently visited the Ty Dyfan Care Home in Barry and it had been observed that there were a number of empty beds at the home and he queried if there were any plans around the use of these beds. In response the Head of Adult Services advised that there was an empty wing at the home which had been too costly for Hafod to run. He stated that there were 12 beds in total but due to the layout of the building 8 beds would be a more realistic number. He advised that the use of these beds would be looked into.


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)                That Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2015/16 revenue and capital monitoring relevant to this Scrutiny Committee.


(2)                That Members and Cabinet are made aware of the progress made to date on the Social Services Budget Programme."


Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 4th January, 2016