SBC to review care packages and child placements in bid to find fresh savings

An in-depth review of adult care packages and out-of-area child placements will be carried out by the council in an attempt to cut costs due to new financial pressures.

Friday, 22nd August 2014, 11:00 am

At a meeting of the executive committee on Tuesday, chief financial officer David Robertson predicted a balanced position at the end of the financial year.

However, he added: “There are significant pressures within the ‘People’ department, with the management team having identified options to ensure a balanced position is achieved.

“At this early stage in the financial year there is a continuing demand in children’s out-of-area placement presenting a pressure of £1.255million above base budget and demand-led pressures within adult services of £429,000. This is being offset from transformation savings in primary schools from changes in class composition and reducing school rolls, together with a range of in-year savings measures.

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“These include reviewing a range of high-cost care packages to older people, adults with learning disabilities and people with physical disabilities, reductions in spend in residential care homes and extra care housing, and redesigning some day services.”

In response, Councillor Stuart Bell said: “We are struggling to get our budgeting right for complex needs, children, adult, disabilities and care packages.

“I understand that we made significant provision in the budget for this year to try and get us out of the difficulties of previous years, yet we are talking about hundreds of thousands of pounds here.”

Mr Robertson said: “The budgeting was based on the estimates of demographic pressures faced across the council – but at that time it can only be an estimate.

“In June, we have seen significant additional pressures which were not predicted when we set the budget.”

He added that SBC put “significant resources” into assessing demographic pressures and is not alone in having to face new challenges throughout the year.

“The reality of the demographics is that we are facing an uphill battle in terms of demand on social care services and I’m not convinced any council is managing it any better,” Mr Robertson said.

However, he did accept SBC needed to review the demographic estimation techniques.

Leader David Parker said: “This is the third year we’ve had challenges at this point of the year, but the challenges are getting smaller.”