Issue - meetings

Children & Families Budget Monitoring Report for the First Quarter 2017-18

Meeting: 12/09/2017 - Cabinet Member for Children and Families (Item 7)

7 Children & Families Budget Monitoring Report for the First Quarter 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Purpose of report

 

To inform the Cabinet Member of the projected revenue expenditure within the portfolio cash limit and capital programme for the current financial year 2017-18. This report sets out the budget position and contributing factors to the projected year-end overspend within the portfolio as at the end of June 2017.

 

 

RECOMMENDED that the Cabinet Member

 

(1)  Notes the Children and Families Portfolio forecast budget position, at the end of June 2016, of £2.8m in excess of current approved cash limit provision.

(2)  Supports the ongoing process of budget review and implementation of proposals to reduce the projected overspend position and deliver a balanced budget within the area of Children's Social Care.

(3)  Approves that power be delegated to the Deputy Director of Children's and Families - Safeguarding, in consultation with the S.151 officer, to enter into the necessary contracts for the capital works proposed at both the Tangiers and Beechside children's homes as set out in section 6 of this report.

 

 

Decision:

(1)  Noted the Children and Families Portfolio forecast budget position, at the end of June 2016, of £2.8m in excess of current approved cash limit provision.

 

(2)  Supported the ongoing process of budget review and implementation of proposals to reduce the projected overspend position and deliver a balanced budget within the area of Children's Social Care.

 

(3)  Approved that power be delegated to the Deputy Director of Children's and Families - Safeguarding, in consultation with the S.151 officer, to enter into the necessary contracts for the capital works proposed at both the Tangiers and Beechside children's homes as set out in section 6 of this report.

 

Minutes:

(TAKE IN REPORT)

 

The report was introduced by Graham Smith, Group Accountant. 

 

He explained that the initial projected overspend for the portfolio was £1.6m at the start of the year, however the projected overspend at the end of Quarter 1 is forecast to be £2.8m.  The Children Social Care and Safeguarding service is projecting an overspend of £2.9m where external residential placements have substantially grown over the first quarter.  Section 6 of the report detailed the two capital schemes at Tangiers Road and Beechside Children's homes. 

 

Councillor Wood raised concern over the substantial increase from the initial projected overspend of £1.6m to the current forecast of £2.8m.  He also commented that that savings obtained through staff vacancies are not a permanent saving. He added that the overspend is increasing and suggested the trend needed to be monitored when setting budgets.

 

Councillor Brent explained that officers are rigorously looking at the external, high cost placements to ensure they are appropriate and obtain the best value for money; and there is a review team in place. There is a national trend of LA's increasing external residential placements, it is not unique to Portsmouth with, all local authorities facing similar pressures. The Council is looking at reducing the need for external residential placements.  With regard to the staffing vacancy levels, he agreed that whilst these provided temporary financial savings it was a "false economy" if the vacancies are held and advised that the vacancies are being filled. It was also noted that the numbers of looked after children is generally increasing. 

 

 

DECISIONS: The Cabinet Member

(1)  Noted the Children and Families Portfolio forecast budget position, at the end of June 2016, of £2.8m in excess of current approved cash limit provision.

 

(2)  Supported the ongoing process of budget review and implementation of proposals to reduce the projected overspend position and deliver a balanced budget within the area of Children's Social Care.

 

(3)  Approved that power be delegated to the Deputy Director of Children's and Families - Safeguarding, in consultation with the S.151 officer, to enter into the necessary contracts for the capital works proposed at both the Tangiers and Beechside children's homes as set out in section 6 of this report.